4 U.N. Workers Killed in Initial Strike on Afghanistan

The New York Times, Oct.9, 2001

Muhammed Zaher, a 16-year-old Afghan boy, lies in the Peshawar Medical complex in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday Oct 8, 2001- Zaher was reportedly injured during US and British military strikes in Jalalabad. (AP photo)

Washington, Oct. 9 The United Nations said today that four of its workers were killed and four others were injured near Kabul in the latest round of bombing by the United States against Afghanistan.

At a news conference in Islamabad, the Pakistan capital, a spokeswoman for the United Nations said that the workers were killed when a missile destroyed a building housing Afghan Technical Consultancy, the agency that oversees mine clearing operations in Afghanistan. The building is several miles east of Kabul, the Afghanistan capital.

The spokeswoman said that all eight of the workers were Afghans and were civilians.

It is the first independent report of civilian deaths resulting from the United States-led military action since the attacks began on Sunday.

There was no immediate response from Washington on the deaths and injuries to the United Nations workers.

Afghanistan is one of the most heavily-minded countries in the world and the United Nations began a mine-clearing program there last year.

The United Nations appealed for the protection of civilians in the military strikes against Afghanistan.

The Taliban authorities estimated the death toll from the first day's raids at between 8 and 20. American officials had no comment on possible casualties.

American officials said C-17's flying at 30,000 feet again dropped more than 35,000 food and medicine packets, but some international aid organizations criticized the effort.

"It's an act of marketing, aimed more at public opinion than saving lives," Thomas Gonnet, head of operations in Afghanistan for the French group Action Against Hunger, told Agence France-Presse.

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