Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Humanitarian Aid in Afghanistan http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=64329&PHPSESSID=c7f072ab44db1d7b472879b70963bc32
"The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has distributed leaflets calling on people to provide information on al-Qaida and the Taliban or face losing humanitarian aid. The move has outraged aid organisations who said their work is independent of the military and it was despicable to pretend otherwise.
"Medécins Sans Frontières, the international medical charity which passed the leaflets to the Guardian, said the threat endangered aid workers. Fourteen aid workers were killed in Afghanistan last year and 11 so far this year.
"After examining the leaflets yesterday Britain and the US said they had been a mistake and it was not their policy to link aid with military operations in that way. The decision to distribute the leaflets had been made at a local level, they said.
"Last night the Pentagon said it would instruct forces in the field and those on future training courses not to repeat the mistake. Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon, said: "I have seen the leaflets in question. While they were no doubt well-intentioned, they do not reflect US policy. The United States does not condition humanitarian assistance on the provision of intelligence.
"The leaflets were distributed by US forces in Zabul province, which borders Pakistan and where the Taliban have regained control of several districts.
"One of the leaflets, showing an Afghan carrying a bag of provisions, reads: 'In order to continue the humanitarian aid, pass over any information related to Taliban, al-Qaida or Gulbuddin organisations to the coalition forces.' The latter reference is to the renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is believed to have allied himself with the Taliban."
There's more at the link.
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