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Pentagon Concerned about Injuring Afghan Civilians

Aired October 24, 2001 - 06:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go ahead and check in on the Pentagon, Bob Franken handling that for us bright and early on this morning.

Bob, good morning.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.

And the civilian casualties that Leon noted just a moment ago are something of concern here at the Pentagon. There have been increasing reports of something that is discussed daily.

As you know, the Pentagon has acknowledged that an errant bomb went astray and hit in the city of Herat, apparently hit the ground and an explosion caused the probability of civilian casualties that has -- what has been characterized either as a military hospital or a home for the elderly and that a couple of other bombs went astray in a residential neighborhood in Kabul. And it is something that when the question is asked the Pentagon acknowledges that this is sensitive, makes a big point of saying that every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties but that that is impossible to avoid in a time of war.

Now it also points out what Walter Rodgers was mentioning just a moment ago that there is "anecdotal evidence," to quote the briefer at the Pentagon, that many of the Taliban forces are hiding in residential areas and in mosques, of course increasing the danger of civilian casualties. But there was a strong hint that if that continues, when the time comes, there could be an introduction of ground forces to try and stop that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN STUFFLEBEEM, JOINT STAFF DEPUTY OPS. DIRECTOR: There is not an intention to open or widen attacks into cities. We will find other ways, as the chairman has said, using the full spectrum capability of our military to get at those who might cowardly decide to hide in residential neighborhoods.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: And the briefer, Daryn, went to great pains to point out that that's full -- a full spectrum, of course, includes ground troops -- Daryn. KAGAN: Bob Franken at the Pentagon. Bob, thanks.

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