The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General deplores the indiscriminate bombing in the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, which occurred on Monday, 14 February, and resulted in the death of eight civilians. These bombings have horrendous repercussions for the civilians in the area, the internally displaced persons and humanitarian agencies. Such military activity has impeded United Nations efforts to provide assistance to the internally displaced persons in these areas through a cross-line operation. One of the bombs fell a mere 200 metres from the United Nations Office in the Bazarak/Changaram area, while others fell nearby.
The Secretary-General is also gravely concerned that civilians are still being deliberately targeted in different frontline areas in Afghanistan. He appeals to all parties involved to respect the rights of non-combatants to be treated as civilians, as well as their right to receive humanitarian assistance. He reiterates his call on all parties to cooperate fully with the Untied Nations in the provision of relief assistance for the survival of affected populations.
The Secretary-General is also concerned with recent fighting that has led to significant population displacement in North-Central Afghanistan and hopes that all parties will take urgent measures to halt the fighting and suffering in this area.