Wednesday, November 14, 2001

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) The Kabul office of the Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera, which has been criticized by the United States for its coverage of the Afghan conflict, was hit early yesterday by what the channel’s director said was a U.S. missile.
No one was in the two-story building housing the office when the rocket slammed into it before dawn, as columns of Taliban soldiers poured south out of the capital, said Ghulal Mohammed, a guard at the office in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood.
“It was a rocket, but everyone is OK,” he said. He said the missile did not explode.
Twisted steel reinforcement bars jutted from the building, and one side of the Al Jazeera office had totally collapsed.
Al Jazeera’s managing director, Mohammed Jassim Ali, said the office was hit by a U.S. missile before dawn and that nobody was there at the time.
He said its 10 staffers were believed to be safe but their whereabouts were unknown.
“All our equipment has been destroyed, but we believe that all our crew are safe,” Mr. Ali said in a telephone interview from Qatar, where the channel is headquartered.
“We don’t know where our crew members are. We are trying to see how we can communicate with them.”
The nearby offices of the Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Corp. in Kabul were damaged by an explosion that rocked the neighborhood at the same time.

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