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At Least Five Peacekeepers Killed in Major Accident in Kabul

Aired March 6, 2002 - 11:03   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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get right now to our first story this morning, a breaking story coming out of from Kabul, Afghanistan. German officials are telling us that at least five peacekeepers were killed in a major accident. This happened during an armed disposal exercise, just a short while ago, and our Nic Robertson is standing by in Kabul. He's got the very latest for us from there.

Hello, Nic, what's the word?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, it was about an hour before dusk at the demolition range just on the outskirts of Kabul, where ISAF troops -- those are the International Security and Assistance Force here, the international peacekeepers -- very working to defuse and dispose of some antiaircraft missiles. Now a serious accident occurred. Five of those soldiers were killed. Two of them were, we understand, were Germans. Two were Danes. It was a joint operation between German and Danish troops to diffuse those missiles.

We also understand that a further seven of those soldiers were injured. Three of them, we are told by ISAF officials here, seriously. Those injured have been removed for treatment to the ISAF medical facility here in the city of Kabul. There are about 1,200 German peacekeepers, International Security and Assistance Force troops, here inside Afghanistan. They makeup one quarter of the 4,800 international peacekeepers that are inside Afghanistan at this time. Most of their work in and around the capitol of Kabul. Most of the time they are ensuring peace and security.

But they also try and make the environment around here safer, and they do that by disposing of bombs, and missile systems, and that what was happening today. A joint operation between Danish and German soldiers that resulted in a serious accident. The death of five, Leon, and the serious injury to three others.

HARRIS: Can give us an idea of whatever it was they were working on? As I understand it, it was an anti-aircraft missile? But how big is that, do you know?

ROBERTSON: Leon, at this stage here in Kabul, ISAF, the International Security and Assistance Force spokesman here, has not given us precise details on the weaponry that was involved. We have been told that it was an anti-aircraft type missile. The size of it can perhaps be best estimated from the scale of the explosion and the number of people injured in that explosion. For five people to be killed, seven injured, three of them seriously, one would imagine -- we don't have confirmation, I must stress -- but one would imagine very fairly serious amount of explosives, perhaps a fairly large surface-to-air missile. But at this stage we don't have details from the international peacekeeping force here -- Leon.

HARRIS: Nic Robertson reporting live for from Kabul. Thanks very much.

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