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Rumsfeld Says Aid Is Reaching Afghans - 2002-01-24


U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says tens of thousands of tons of humanitarian relief are reaching needy Afghans, in what he called one of the largest humanitarian aid efforts in history.

Since the U-S-led military response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, Mr. Rumsfeld says two-point-five-million meal packets have been air-dropped across Afghanistan by the U-S Air Force. He says more than 800 tons of wheat have been airlifted to the region, along with thousands of blankets and other supplies.

The secretary credited Jordan, Russia, Spain and South Korea for setting up, supplying and operating Afghan field hospitals and staffing them with surgeons and other medical personnel.

He also said U-S-led forces have opened 11 major convoy routes inside Afghanistan as well as nine airfields, to speed up relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the United States unblocked more than 200-million dollars in Afghan assets frozen while the Taleban was in power. U-S Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says the funds will help stabilize the Afghan economy and strengthen its central bank.

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