Source Pravda.Ru

Collateral damage IX

Two buses full of passengers target by US warplanes near Mazar-i-Sharif.

The Pakistani daily Dawn has confirmed Taleban sources that civilian vehicles are regularly targeted by US military aircraft on the Hajigak highway between Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, due to the fact that this is the only means of communication functioning between the two cities.

The Taleban source was Abdul Henan Hemat, head of the information agency, Bakhtar, who claimed that on November 7th, two full civilian buses were attacked by US military aircraft on the Hajigak highway. However, the exact number of casualties was not stated.

He explained that the reason for the attack was that any vehicles on this highway were suspected of being used to ferry Taleban military forces into the strategically important city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which has fallen into the hands of the opposition Northern Alliance in recent hours (November 10th).

“Every day American planes are bombing this road thinking it is being used to send reinforcements. Every day they are hitting buses, cars and tractors but these are civilians”, stated Abdul Hemat, quoted by the Pakistani source, which is the most important daily newspaper in the country.

There are also reports of 22 other civilian casualties around the country. It is claimed that 12 civilians were killed and 19 were injured around Kandahar, 6 killed and an unknown number of injuries in a village north of Kabul and 4 dead with seven injured in Istalif.

The official position of the USA is that many of these incidents are caused by the Taleban themselves, as stated by Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary at a pentagon press conference.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru