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Annan wants U.S.-led air strikes in Afghanistan to end soon

NEW YORK Oct 31 (NNI): The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he hoped U.S. military raids in Afghanistan would end soon so that relief workers could step up deliveries of badly needed aid.
''We would want this whole military operation ended as soon as possible, particularly the air action, so that we can begin to move in our supplies,'' Annan told reporters.
Annan said what relief agencies now needed was to ''get in as much food as we can, and prepare for the winter.''
Praising the efforts of aid workers in such dangerous conditions, Annan said, ''We are getting in quite a bit, despite the military operations. I think that is a credit to the courage of our staff and also to the truck drivers who are prepared to take the risks.''
This is the first time for the U.N. chief to urge an end to the military operations in Afghanistan.
U.N. officials in charge of emergency aid have said the amount of supplies the United Nations is currently capable of transporting into Afghanistan is half of what is believed necessary.
The bombing raids have complicated the task of delivering aid, as increasing numbers of people are fleeing their homes in the cities, including the capital of Kabul, to mountainous areas.
International aid workers left the country ahead of the bombing and remaining aid groups are finding it difficult to secure trucks and drivers willing to enter the war zone to carry the supplies. –NNI

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