INTRODUCTION: The Afghanistan government is denying charges that helicopter gunships have been dropping anti-personnel mines in Pakistan's North West Frontier province.
GV PAN Street in North West Frontier village, near Parachinar.
GV Three men walking along dirt road, stop and point to mine on ground ZOOM TO CU mine device.
SV Men squatting on ground ZOOM TO CU mines.
GV Man throws stone to explode mine.
SV PAN INT Hospital ward in Parachinar with mine victims in beds.
SVs Medical staff tending victims of mines. (6 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The Afghanistan government is denying charges that helicopter gunships have been dropping anti-personnel mines in Pakistan's North West Frontier province. But the Pakistanis in the area point to hospital casualties from the mines, many of which resemble children's toys.
SYNOPSIS: This particular village is only about three kilometre (almost 2 miles) from the Afghan border and is now almost surrounded by minefields. The area where the mines have been found is remote, mountainous and totally undefended. Four Afghan helicopter gunships peppered the area, according to the Pakistanis, in mid-November. They are scattered over a corridor four kilometres (3 miles) wide and eight kilometres (5 miles) long. Pakistanis have no trouble recognising the devices.
Villagers say most of the mines look like brown stones, but others come in different shapes and sizes. Some look like cigarettes, others like cigarette lighters and a few that resemble children's toys.
Once spotted, the mines are easy to dispose of. You simply stand back and toss stones until you explode them harmlessly. It's not a big blast. Not enough to kill but sufficient to cause serious wounding.
Casualties started arriving here in Parachinar District Hospital only hours after the first mines were dropped. Authorities have had to set aside two special wards. So far, fourteen people have been admitted and all are Pakistani. Mujahideen guerillas operating into Afghanistan out of nearby refugee camps have been unaffected. The Soviet backed regime claims Pakistan is lying about the anti-personnel mines, to secure United States military aid. For their part, the Pakistani villagers say they want nothing to do with Afghanistan's internal struggle, and particularly, no contact with cigarettes or children's toys that can blow off a foot or a hand.