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US warplanes bombed the offices of the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the Afghan capital Kabul early on Tuesday morning as the city fell to Northern Alliance forces, Al-Jazeera reported today. The channel has lost contact with its correspondent in the city Taysir Allouni and has been unable to determine the extent of the injuries or damage to its staff and offices.
There is no information as to whether the attack was deliberate or not, however on April 23, 1999 US-led NATO forces deliberately bombed the offices of Radio-Television Serbia killing 16 journalists and technical staff, a case that the European Court of Human Rights has just agreed to review. In recent months US officials have alternately criticized Al-Jazeera and demanded to be interviewed on it, and the network has been subjected to a campaign of villification in the US media, including at least in one case a demand that it be bombed. New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets wrote on October 14 that "Dealing with Al Jazeera is a job for the military. Shutting it down should be an immediate priority."
In recent days, Al-Jazeera has stood almost alone in reporting extensive civilian casualties from US bombing in several parts of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile Al-Jazeera reported that there are reports of summary executions and round-ups as Northern Alliance forces flood into Kabul. The television, using pictures taken by reporters entering the city with Northern Alliance forces, showed many bodies lying in the streets as a result of what some reports say were summary executions. Since Taliban forces are said to have withdrawn from the city under cover of night, street fighting may not explain why so many bodies were lying in the street.
On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson expressed concern about reprisals and violence against civilians both by Taliban and Northern Alliance forces as Afghan cities fall to the Northern Alliance (see story below).
The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in 1993 to combat rising religious intolerance in South Asia and to campaign for peace and justice in the region. We are committed to working towards a just, non-violent resolution of the crisis we are currently living through. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please call 617-983-3934 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Feb 2007
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