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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 4, 2002
7:18 PM
CONTACT:  Women for Afghan Women
(212) 868-9360
Afghan-Americans to Protest Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan
Unprecedented Picket Will Be Held Outside White House at Noon on Friday, July 5
 
WHO: Women for Afghan Women, Young Afghan World Alliance and other Afghan-American organizations and Peace groups

WHAT: Picket outside White House to Protest the Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan at the hands of the US military.

The message will be to President Bush and Congress:
No More Innocent Victims
Send Aid NOT Bombs to Afghanistan
Support the Creation of an Afghan Victims Fund
Conduct a US Government Detailed Study of Civilian Casualties

WHEN: NOON to 1 PM - Friday, July 5, 2002

WHERE: White House- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, DC

WASHINGTON - July 4 - For the first time since the US began bombing Afghanistan last October, Afghan-American organizations have called for a protest against the killing of innocent civilians by the US military. Women for Afghan Women and Young Afghan World Alliance join by other peace groups will be picketing outside the White House at noon on Friday, July 5, 2001.

This past Monday, July 1, U.S. air attack killed and injured scores of civilians as they were attending a wedding celebration. Yesterday a Pentagon official dismissed the importance of keeping track of numbers of Afghan casualties.

Today in Kabul, 200 protesters about half of them women in burqas, blocked midmorning traffic. Compensation was one of the demands. "We cannot tolerate more innocent victims in our country and American bombardment of civilian targets," said Theyba one of the protest organizers in Afghanistan.

The Washington, DC protest organizer, Masuda Sultan, Vice President of Women for Afghan Women is a young Afghan-American woman who is "angry that civilian casualties continue to happen, even accidentally," at the hands of the US military. She lost 19 extended family members when a farm near Kandahar was hit (possibly by the same AC-130 gunships that hit Monday's Afghan wedding party) during a US strike last October.

Masuda was initially cautiously supportive U.S. intervention but is now disappointed that she has yet to hear an explanation or an apology directly from the Pentagon regarding her family's deaths.

Earlier this year Masuda Sultan met September 11 victim's families who visited Afghanistan as members of Peaceful Tomorrows. Upon their return Masuda joined them to lobby congress to provide compensation funds for civilian Afghan victims of US military actions.

The US military has been bombing Afghanistan since October of last year. Yet there is no official acknowledgment that innocent Afghan civilians have been killed or maimed in this "precision bombing" campaign. While the number of civilian casualties is unclear, estimates range from 1,000 to 4,000 people.

The victims of the 9-11 tragedy have rightfully received a tremendous outpouring of compassion from the world community and help from the US government and humanitarian agencies to ease their burdens. Said Sultan "But what about the innocent victims in Afghanistan who lost their lives during the US air strikes?"

Related links:

* Women for Afghan Women http://www.womenforafghanwomen.org/
* Young Afghan World Alliance http://www.ya-wa.org/
* Peaceful Tomorrows http://www.peacefultomorrows.org/
* Global Exchange http://www.globalexchange.org/

Women for Afghan Women
P.O. Box 152
Midtown Station
New York, NY 10018
(212) 868-9360

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