ISLAMABAD, Nov 14: Factional fighting has broken out in Mazar-i- Sharif, United Nations said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference, United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA) spokesperson, Stephanie Bunker, said that situation in Mazar-i- Sharif is tense with reports of tension in various Northern Alliance groups. “There are still dead bodies on the streets but we cannot confirm if those killed were civilians or not,” she said.

Mazar-i-Sharif was taken over by Northern Alliance forces with the help of US aerial strikes on Friday.

Ms Bunker said that Northern Alliance commanders were seen driving UN vehicles in Mazar-i-Sharif.

UNICEF spokesperson, Chulho Hyun, said the UN children’s agency is temporarily suspending aid delivery to Afghanistan because of lootings and a precarious and fluid security situation on the ground.

He said the UNICEF has established contacts with Northern Alliance representatives in Islamabad to secure release of the UNICEF convoy which left Peshawar last Saturday but was subsequently taken to a base of a Northern Alliance commander.

Northern Alliance troops in Mazar-I-Sharif seized 10 UNICEF trucks and took the drivers, who are all ethnic Pakhtoons, prisoner.

“Either one or two drivers may have been killed,” the UNICEF spokesperson said.

The trucks were carrying 200 tons of supplies, including 300 hand-operated well pumps, 150 family-sized tents and water- purification equipment. The convoy arrived in Mazar-I-Sharif on Saturday and was the first aid to reach the city since it was seized by the Northern Alliance on Friday.

About the food situation, World Food Programme spokesperson, Lindsey Davies, said the dramatically changing situation on the ground during the past 72 hours had a negative impact on food deliveries. The truck drivers in Peshawar and Quetta refused to leave for Afghanistan because of fears of security.



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