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CNN BREAKING NEWS

At Least Four Americans Killed in an Explosion in Kabul

Aired August 29, 2004 - 11:42   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this update on a breaking story we're following for you out of Kabul, Afghanistan. A sizable explosion taking place earlier right in a downtown district. And apparently in an area frequented by foreign international workers, many non-government workers who have been living and working in that area.
And last reports, at least four Americans reportedly were killed. Two Afghans as well. And apparently, according to Al Jazeera Television, the Taliban is accepting responsibility.

And we have on the phone with us Nic Downie, who is an independent security expert. And he works with non-governmental agencies there. And Nic, can you give me an understanding as to what you believe happened there?

NIC DOWNIE, SECURITY EXPERT: Sure. Yeah. At about 5:35 p.m. local time, Kabul, there was a very loud explosion right about 50 meters from my office, through my windows, and myself and my staff reacted to this, and basically went into a scene of absolute chaos and devastation. Unfortunately, there were definitely remains of the bodies of some international staff, which we understand is (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a U.S. company, and also several others injured, including Afghans. Also Afghans killed in that explosion.

WHITFIELD: And is it your understanding that these foreigners, mostly Americans, were targeted and by this group, by the Taliban, who is claiming responsibility now?

DOWNIE: Well, I'm quite clear -- it's quite clear in my mind that they were targeted. Bancorp (ph) are providing security for Hamid Karzai, the interim president here, and are also involved in very much standing up for Afghanistan as a nation itself. Of course, it's a massive U.S. interest here. There's no doubt about that the premises of this residence, and office complex, were targeted. The quarter -- the explosion was right on the front door of this office.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you very much. Nic Downie, an independent security expert working with non-government agencies there in Kabul, Afghanistan, for that update. And of course, CNN will keep you informed of the developments of this now sizable investigation taking place inside of Kabul. We'll have more throughout the day. And after this short break, back to Howard Kurtz and RELIABLE SOURCES.

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