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Avalanche Buries Number of Vehicles in Northern Afghanistan

Aired February 6, 2002 - 11:30   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: But first to the Pentagon and Barbara Starr.

Getting word right now, breaking news out of northern Afghanistan, apparently an avalanche has buried a number of cars there and vehicles. Let's get to Barbara and find out what we know.

Barbara, good morning to you.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Bill.

Yes, there is just very initial word, very few details on this incident, but apparently, there has been an avalanche in the snow near the Salang Tunnel. Now, as you know, this is a major tunnel that connects northern and southern Afghanistan. It is the major route for humanitarian supplies right now. This tunnel had been closed for many years during conflicts that had occurred across Afghanistan, and it was only recently reopened with the assistance of the Russians.

The U.S. Central Command tells us that at the moment, they believe that 20 vehicles have been buried in the snow, and they believe that they are vehicles operated by the Red Cross, but they are not absolutely sure, and they are trying to get more information on that.

U.S. Central Command forces in Afghanistan are getting ready, we're told, to send medical equipment, airlift equipment, vehicles to the region to try and help in any recovery efforts.

Of course one of the major problems would be getting any earth- moving or snow-moving equipment to the region. There is very little of that in Afghanistan. The U.S. military does have some that they have privately contracted for that's being used in some of the airfield repair work in Afghanistan. But there's an awful lot of snow on the ground, so it would take some time get any of the equipment to the site -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Barbara, as soon as we get more time, we will talk about other moving events there at the Pentagon and the stories we're tracking. Barbara Starr, thanks, live at the Pentagon.

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