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Relief Efforts Continue Amid Search for bin Laden

Friday, 04 January 2002 12:00 AM

The copy reads, "Osama bin Laden the murderer and coward has abandoned al-Qaeda. He has abandoned you and run away. Give yourself up and do not die needlessly, you mean nothing to him. Save your families the grief and pain of your death."

They are also dropping radios for civilians.

In addition to food, blankets and medicine, the U.S. Agency for International Development is distributing radios to native Afghans so that they can find out about humanitarian aid deliveries throughout the country.

One purpose of the radios is to discourage local warlords from stealing rations meant for the people, USAID administrator Andrew Natsios told reporters Thursday.

"If a food delivery has been made to Herat, everybody's supposed to get 10 kilograms of ration, and they're getting two, and they hear this report that they're supposed to be getting 10, there's going to be a little problem in the city, because people are going to be very angry that the food has not been delivered to them as it's supposed to be," Natsios said.

Since Dec. 7, the International Organization of Migration has distributed about 20,000 to 30,000 Kchibo KK-12 12-band radios and batteries to Afghan tribal chiefs, schoolteachers, hospital officials and other community leaders. The radios were purchased in Hong Kong and are capable of picking up BBC, the Voice of America as well as local Afghan radio stations.

The USAID is hoping that local listeners will pick up a series of public service announcements produced by local Pashto and Dari speakers on humanitarian aid deliveries, aired on local Afghan radio stations.

U.S. shipments have steadily increased since September when the World Food Program delivered 11,240 metric tons of food to the country. That figure increased over 10-fold in December to 116,000 metric tons.

Despite these relief efforts, the recent U.S. offensive actions have increased the stream of Afghan refugees to the Pakistani border.

A sudden wave of Afghan refugees converging on southern Pakistan on Thursday caught the U.N. "off guard," said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Fatoumata Kaba, who blamed the new exodus on fear of continued U.S. airstrikes, and on lawlessness.

Kaba said about 3,000 refugees had arrived on the outskirts of the Pakistani town of Chaman, which sits on the Afghan border and hosts a refugee camp known as Killi Faizo, and more refugees were on the way. Pakistani officials have refused to allow any new Afghan refugees to cross into Pakistan, keeping up Islamabad's policy of sealed borders.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The copy reads, Osama bin Laden the murderer and coward has abandoned al-Qaeda. He has abandoned you and run away. Give yourself up and do not die needlessly, you mean nothing to him. Save your families the grief and pain of your death. They are also dropping radios for...
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2002-00-04
Friday, 04 January 2002 12:00 AM
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