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DATE=8/15/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=AFGHANISTAN - U-N (L-O) NUMBER=2-252808 BYLINE=AYAZ GUL DATELINE=ISLMABAD INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The United Nations says it is "greatly alarmed" the latest upsurge in fighting in Afghanistan is causing massive displacement of civilians. U-N officials are reporting that Islamic Taleban have been following a scorched-earth campaign in the recent fighting north of the Afghan capital. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad, Taleban authorities say they are shifting civilians in the war zone for their safety. Text: The United Nations is calling for the Taleban movement to stop what the United Nations says is a senseless campaign against the civilian population. U-N officials estimate 10-thousand people have fled to Kabul in the past two days from the fighting in Shamali valley, near the front lines north of the Afghan capital. U-N spokesperson Stephanie Bunker says civilians of all ethnic groups have been arriving in Kabul. Ms Bunker speaks of eyewitness accounts. // BUNKER ACT // They are telling us that massive displacement is occurring and that all people; men, women, and children are being forced from their homes by the Taleban fighters there. The Taleban fighters are telling them to walk to Kabul and that their homes and their crops in some cases are being burned after them, and in some case they are reporting that the entire village is being burned. This is going to make their return home very difficult even if they want to go. // END ACT // Ms. Bunker says international aid agencies in the Afghan capital have been monitoring the new arrivals, many of which are suffering from severe dehydration. // BUNKER ACT // They (the aid agencies) are actually out on the road and they are counting them as they (the displaced people) come in. They are also providing the new arrivals with just a little bit of food to sustain them because they are dehydrated and hungry after their trip. And they are making preparation to see if further assistance is needed to these people. Some of these people may take up residence with friends or relatives, some of them may not and we just have to track that situation. // END ACT // U-N officials say some of the civilians have made the journey to Kabul on foot while others have been transported on trucks commandeered by the Taleban authorities. The Taleban admits (Sunday) it is shifting the population in the war zone. The Pakistan-based "Afghan Islamic Press" quotes Taleban officials as saying the campaign is aimed at saving civilians from being caught up and killed in the fighting. The hard- line Islamic movement also admits burning houses in the area, which it says were allegedly being used to store ammunition or as bunkers to attack Taleban forces. The recent fighting in Afghanistan began last month when Taleban forces launched a major offensive against their remaining opposition north of Kabul. The Taleban movement, which controls most of Afghanistan, has failed to dislodge opposition forces since capturing Kabul in 1996. (SIGNED) NEB/AG/RAE 15-Aug-1999 08:55 AM EDT (15-Aug-1999 1255 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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