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Red Cross condemns warehouse airstrikes

Kallenberger says the US strikes have made the charity's work very difficult Keystone

The Swiss head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, has criticised the bombing of its warehouses in Afghanistan.

This content was published on October 29, 2001 - 12:05

Kellenberger called the strikes an infringement of human rights. US bombs hit ICRC warehouses in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday, in the second such incident since the start of US military operations on October 7.

"We deplore the bombardment of the ICRC warehouses, which was a violation of international rights," said Kellenberger. He said he wanted an explanation from the Americans.

Speaking during a visit to Teheran at the weekend, Kellberger said the raids on its warehouses had a dramatic impact on the Red Cross humanitarian work in Afghanistan.

Compounded problems

"The bombing has greatly hindered the distribution of food from our sites in Afghanistan," said Kellenberger, adding that the absence of aid workers in the country made the work doubly difficult.

He added that despite these difficulties, the organisation had recently succeeded in distributing aid to 30,000 people in Kabul and in the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Medical materials were still being distributed to the fourteen most crucial sites in Afghanistan, said Kellenberger, although he was deplored that visits to prisoners were no longer possible.

Kellengerber stressed that the ICRC had maintained contact with "all the warring factions" in the country.

"The Taliban has always respected the work and principles of the ICRC in the areas under its control," he said.

swissinfo with agencies

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