Taliban claim U.S., British planes hit hospital in Herat

Monday, October 22, 2001

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- The Taliban claimed Monday that U.S. and British planes struck a hospital in the western Afghan city of Herat, killing more than 100 people.

Britain denied its planes took part in any raid against Herat.

The claim was made by the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, who said the dead included patients and hospital staff. He gave no further details.

Zaeef repeated Taliban claims -- denied by the Pentagon -- that Afghan fighters had shot down an American military helicopter in southwestern Afghanistan.

"It is now clear that American plans are intentionally targeting the Afghan people," he said. "The goal is to punish the Afghan nation for having chosen an Islamic system."

In London, Britain's Ministry of Defense dismissed the Taliban's claim that British fighters were involved in the alleged attack on the hospital

A defense spokesman said no British strike aircraft were involved in the operation in Afghanistan.

"The U.K. has aircraft that are assisting the Americans by refueling and engaged in reconnaissance, but we don't have any strike aircraft involved in this mission," said the spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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