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Red Cross Plans to Ship Medical Aid to Afghanistan - 2001-10-01


International Red Cross officials say they hope to send regular convoys of medical supplies to Afghanistan in the wake of successful shipments of humanitarian aid to the devastated country.

A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross told reporters in Geneva Monday that agency officials were encouraged that a truck carrying supplies to treat 500 wounded reached Kabul without incident on Saturday. It was the first shipment to reach the Afghan capital since Red Cross foreign workers pulled out three weeks ago.

The spokesman said the organization now hopes to send medical supplies from neighboring countries to Kabul and other Afghan cities on a regular basis. But he said the Red Cross will not send food to Afghanistan because of the risk that it could be diverted to fighters in the country's conflict.

Meanwhile, six trucks carrying 218 tons of wheat have arrived in Kabul under the United Nations World Food Program. U.N. spokesman Khaled Mansour says the shipment is the first of several organized to provide food relief for six million people inside Afghanistan. Agency officials have organized convoys to carry one thousand tons of food from Peshawar, in neighboring Pakistan, to the Afghan capital.

On Sunday, U.N. trucks left Quetta, Pakistan, for Kabul and Herat. Other food aid shipments are to be sent from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to help hundreds of thousands of people in northern Afghanistan.

Food shipments into the country were suspended on September 12, one day after the terrorist strikes in the United States.

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