Caritas Calls for a Halt to Bombing of Afghanistan

Says It´s Necessary to Assist Refugees

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, OCT. 28, 2001 ( Caritas International appealed for the suspension of the bombing of Afghanistan, so it can help refugees of the war.

Father Gregory Rice, coordinator of Caritas´ refugee program, requested the suspension of «bombings because they don´t achieve anything and only add to the suffering.»

Despite several appeals, the U.S. State Department has announced that the war will continue over the next few months.

U.S. attacks on Kabul killed at least 13 civilians today, witnesses said, one day after U.S. missiles struck hamlets along the front line north of the Afghan capital, killing and maiming villagers, the Associated Press reported.

American warplanes also pounded targets in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south, Herat in the west and Jalalabad in the east, said the Afghan Islamic Press, a private news agency.

Aid workers fear the ongoing military campaign will make it difficult to establish «humanitarian corridors» to assist the civilian population, especially as winter nears.

Silvio Tessari, Caritas-Italy´s representative in Pakistan, said that «1.5 million people are trying to flee from Afghanistan and more than 2 million are displaced within [the country]. Pakistan has accepted more than 2 million refugees.»

Caritas´ aid program includes refugee camps in Peshawar, Quetta, Shamshatoo, Akora Khatat and Jazolai, which will provide sanitary services, blankets, food and medicines.

Caritas, an international confederation of Catholic aid organizations, will also transmit radio messages of peace and tolerance to Baluchistan and southern Afghanistan, school 176,000 children, and provide agricultural equipment for Afghans who have remained in the country.

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