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  • Al-Jazeera Kabul offices hit in US raid (2001)

    Van nieuwsblog.burojansen.nl

    The channel says everybody knew where the office was, including the Americans
    The Kabul offices of the Arab satellite al-Jazeera channel have been destroyed by a US missile.

    This office has been known by everybody, the American airplanes know the location of the office, they know we are broadcasting from there

    Al-Jazeera Managing Director Mohammed Jasim al-Ali
    The Qatar-based satellite channel, which gained global fame for its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban, announced that none of its staff had been wounded.

    But al-Jazeera’s managing director Mohammed Jasim al-Ali, told BBC News Online that the channel’s 12 employees in Kabul were out of contact.

    Mr Jasim would not speculate as to whether the offices were deliberately targeted, but said the location of the bureau was widely known by everyone, including the Americans.

    He also expressed concern at reports that Northern Alliance fighters were singling out Arabs in the city since they took over early on Tuesday.

    Critical situation

    The station said in an earlier report the bureau had been hit by shells when the Afghan opposition forces entered the capital.

    Al-Jazeera confirmed later that it was a US missile that destroyed the building and damaged the homes of some employees.

    Al-Jazeera presenter
    The station has been viewed with suspicion in the West for its access to the Taleban
    “The situation is very critical,” Mr Jasim told the BBC from the channel’s offices in Doha.

    “This office has been known by everybody, the American airplanes know the location of the office, they know we are broadcasting from there,” he said.

    He said there had been no contact with Kabul correspondent Taysir Alluni because all their equipment had been destroyed.

    The Northern Alliance has reportedly ordered most reporters in Kabul to gather at the Inter-Continental Hotel.

    “Now that the Northern Alliance has taken over, it is too dangerous,” Mr Jasim said, adding that he had heard that some Arabs had been killed.

    Taleban withdrawal

    Earlier, al-Jazeera correspondent Yusuf al-Shuli quoted Taleban officials in their southern stronghold of Kandahar as saying they had withdrawn from the cities to spare the civilians air bombardment and acts of vengeance by the Northern Alliance.

    Al-Jazeera footage of three boys reported to be Bin Laden’s sons
    Al-Jazeera said these three boys are Bin Laden’s sons
    “They told us that reoccupying these cities will not take long once the air cover that supports the Northern Alliance is over,” he said.

    He said there was a “mixture of anger, despair, and disappointment among most people” in Kandahar at the fall of Kabul, but the situation there was calm.

    Al-Jazeera has a reputation for outspoken, independent reporting – in stark contrast to the Taleban’s views of the media as a propaganda and religious tool.

    But the channel has been viewed with suspicion by politicians in the West and envy by media organisations ever since the start of the US-led military action in Afghanistan.

    Exclusive access

    For a time it was the only media outlet with any access to Taleban-held territory and the Islamic militia itself.

    It broadcast the only video pictures of Afghan demonstrators attacking and setting fire to the US embassy in Kabul on 26 September.

    The banner of al-Jazeera
    The channel says its guiding principles are “diversity of viewpoints and real-time news coverage”
    Most controversially, it was the first channel to air video tapes of Osama Bin Laden urging Muslims to rise up against the West in a holy war.

    Last week it showed footage of three young boys reported to be Bin Laden’s sons.

    Western governments at one stage warned that the channel was being used by the al-Qaeda network to pass on coded messages to supporters around the world.

    Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 13:48 GMT

    Find this story at 13 November 2001

    Copyright BBC