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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Letter from Afghanistan
Torkham border
Pakistan has closed its gates to the Afghans
This piece has been written by one of the trapped Afghans at the Pakistan border. He has a passport and valid visa but cannot get across to join his family who are in Peshawar.

The unpleasant happening of last Tuesday - that timid terrorist action - greatly depressed me and all the people of Afghanistan.

We would like to share our condolences with the people of the United States, particularly with the families that lost their loved ones.

People are very worried because they have experienced the invasion of the Russian Red Army and the civil war, and the bitterness of those experiences is still with them

We want to stretch our hands to assist those who have suffered, since we have experienced something similar in our country in the past two decades.

But unfortunately, except expressing our sorrow and sympathy, we can do nothing else from this long distance.

We pray to Almighty Allah that such actions don't take place in the future.

Migrating to safer places

We have heard the rumours of the possibility of US military forces attacking Afghanistan under the pretext of arresting Osama Bin Laden and punishing the Taleban.

The people of Afghanistan, particularly those from the cities, are wandering hither and thither.

All who have the ability to leave are migrating.

The highways between the capital and provinces and centres of provinces to rural areas are full of means of transportation and vehicles.

Those who can are leaving
Only those who cannot afford to leave the cities are waiting, looking forward to an uncertain future.

The prices of food and other materials such as fuel are getting higher and higher and have gone up by 10-15%.

'Do not act in haste'

People are very worried because they have experienced the invasion of the Russian Red Army and the civil war, and the bitterness of those experiences is still with them.

Therefore, the government of the United States must not be in a hurry to respond.

We accept that bearing such humanitarian concerns is very difficult for the US Government and the people of America.

Afghans count America as one of their friends... the US should not convert its friends to enemies

But it is a fact that influential people and countries have great patience.

Hurrying to respond to last week's attacks will have no other results except bloodshed and devastation of the innocent people of Afghanistan.

America has assisted Afghan people a lot, particularly during the time of the uprising against the Russian invasion and the rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

People here will never forget that and Afghans count America as one of their friends.

The United States should keep this feeling in mind and not convert its friends to enemies.

America must not spend millions of dollars to devastate the country on which it has spent millions of dollars to fight against the Russians.

'Afghans have suffered'

If America attacks Afghanistan it would result in innocent Afghans suffering.

What will be the difference then between those who committed the recent attacks in New York and Washington, and America?

An Afghan girl
Thousands of children have been orphaned
Because the innocent will be used as an armour in this fight.

Two million Afghans have fallen victim in the past two decades and up to now the tears of orphans have not dried, the cries of widows have not stopped.

America must not create thousands more widows and orphans.

An end should be put to the sadness and worries of our people.

In case, according to the US, the accused people are in Afghanistan, what wrong have the innocent people of Afghanistan done?

Humanitarian crisis

At a time when starvation and droughts are threatening our people, the only hope our people have is the humanitarian assistance through NGOs and the UN.

In case war breaks out, such aid will be stopped and as a result, the world will be witness to a big humanitarian disaster.

At the end I would request you that these few points must not be counted as mere words.

This is the voice that is expressed from the hearts of our people.

The BBC's Janet Cohen
examines the economic and physical hardships facing the Afghan nation
The BBC's Kate Clark
"Practically everyone who can afford a bus ticket out of Kabul has left now"
See also:

17 Sep 01 | South Asia
UN prepares for major Afghan crisis
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
14 Sep 01 | South Asia
Aid agencies warn of Afghan crisis
16 Sep 01 | South Asia
In pictures: Afghans fear US backlash
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
On edge: Afghanistan's neighbours
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