MSF Team Reaches Herat

MSF Personnel Resume Work in Kabul, Mazar-I-Sharif, and Taloqan

Herat, Afghanistan/New York, November 15, 2001 — A team of international relief workers from the international medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) arrived today by car in the city of Herat in western Afghanistan. This week, MSF international staff have also resumed activities in the former Taliban-held cities of Kabul, Mazar-I-Sharif, and Taloqan.

The international team in Herat consists of a surgeon, a nurse, and a logistician. The team crossed the Turkmenistan border near Turgundy around 3 pm local time where they were welcomed by MSF Afghan staff from Herat. The teams traveled the last 2.5 hours of their trip to Herat together.

The reunion with local staff was quite emotional. "Our ten Afghan colleagues are all here," reported MSF nurse Siobhan Isles by phone from Herat. "They ones who have managed to keep up support hospital, several clinics and two nearby camps for internally displaced people, since evacuation of foreign aid workers Taliban-controlled areas Afghanistan on September 14."

Initial reports are that one MSF local staff member and 82 other civilians were injured during the recent fighting for control of Herat. The team also stated that the situation is now calm in the town apart from celebratory gunfire from Northern Alliance forces. An 8 pm curfew has been enforced.

Tomorrow the MSF team will try to get a clearer picture of the medical and humanitarian situation in and around Herat, particularly in the camps for displaced persons. MSF aid programs will continue and be extended where required.

All of MSF's relief initiatives have been undertaken independently of the warring parties in Afghanistan. MSF has worked in Afghanistan continuously since 1979 and currently has teams in Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan to provide support to the organization's Afghan relief efforts and assistance to Afghan refugees.