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Afghanistan: Kabul under fire

03-07-1996 News Release 96/26

A rocket attack that hit Kabul on 26 June turned an ordinary day into a terrifying nightmare for residents of the city, whose routine activities were once again brutally disrupted. Immediately after the attack began, cries rang out, stalls in the bazaar were hastily shut down and the first casualties, including women and children, lay in the streets. About one hundred shells and rockets rained down on the capital, many of them landing in the Wazir Akhbar Khan district where one of Kabul's main hospitals is situated. This violent onslaught, attributed to the Taliban militia entrenched south of the city, appeared timed to coincide with the return that night of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to take up his duties as prime minister.

According to early estimates, over 60 people were killed in the attack. In addition, ICRC representatives reported that by nightfall 130 wounded people had been admitted to Kabul's 21 medical facilities. In a single day - one of the blackest in Afghanistan's protracted war - more victims were claimed than during the preceding three months. 

The ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent were nevertheless able to proceed with their relief distributions to 30,000 of the most needy families. 

Once again, the civilian population of Kabul has borne the brunt of wanton violence perpetrated in violation of the basic principles of international humanitarian law. The ICRC delegation in the city has renewed its representations to the belligerents, urging them to spare all civilians and civilian property.