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Green concern rises as civilian deaths mount


24 October 2001

Green concern rises as civilian deaths mount

Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke today said the Greens were becoming increasingly worried as civilian deaths rose as a result of the US and British bombing of Afghanistan.

"Every day we hear reports of bombs missing their targets and innocent people being killed or injured," said Mr Locke.

"Yesterday the UN reported that a hospital was hit in the city of Herat, and Qatar's al-Jazeera television has shown bodies from an air raid on a village near Kandahar. It claimed 93 civilians had been killed and 40 injured."

Mr Locke said while accurate information is the first casualty of war, the longer the bombing goes on the more ordinary Afghans will be killed and displaced.

"Tens of thousands of refugees, not wanting to be caught up in the war are fleeing to the border with Pakistan, only to be refused entry. As winter looms and the numbers of refugees swell, the humanitarian crisis worsens.

"International food aid, which many Afghans relied on because of a prolonged drought in the country, is no longer able to get through to where it is needed as a result of the bombing. Many innocent people will die of starvation," he said.

Mr Locke said the Greens remained very concerned that the ongoing military strikes were unlikely to deter or prevent further acts of terrorism, particularly if innocent civilians continued to be killed and displaced and civilian targets such as hospitals continued to be hit.

"Now more than ever we need to be asking where this war is taking us, and whether our military participation is in the best interests of New Zealand or the global elimination of terrorism," said Mr Locke.

ENDS




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