Radioactive Bombs Rain Down on Asia

DU in Afghanistan

Subject:  [du-list] Radioactive Bombs Rain Down on Asia
   Date:   Thu, 21 Mar 2002 19:45:05 -0800
   From:   "Piotr Bein" <>
     To:     <>, <>

The Village Voice  20-26 March, 20002

Radioactive Bombs Rain Down on Asia
Glowing Reports
by James Ridgeway

President Bush may have frightened most of America with big talk
about nuclear war, but people in Afghanistan and Pakistan think they've
already been nuked by depleted-uranium (DU) bombs.

"The use of reprocessed nuclear waste in the U.S. air strikes
against the Taliban poses a serious risk of radiation poisoning to
the human lives in Afghanistan and Pakistan," said the Pakistan Weekly
Independent last November. Added Dawn, Pakistan's big English-language
paper, on November 12: "A leading military expert told Dawn that since
October 7 the United States Air Force has been raining down depleted
uranium shells at targets inside Afghanistan, especially against the
Taliban front lines in the north. . . . 'There is widespread radiation
in many areas that could adversely affect tens and thousands of people
in the two countries for generations to come,' he said."

The U.S. reportedly employed munitions containing depleted
uranium during the Gulf War in 1991 and more recently during
NATO's campaign in the Balkans and in Vieques, as part of
military exercises. In Afghanistan, there have been reports of DU in
bunker bombs and other munitions; some contain a "mystery" metal,
either tungsten (most of which comes from China) or depleted uranium.

A 1994 report to Congress by the secretary of the army said, "Like
naturally occurring uranium, DU has toxicological and radiological
health risks." The report goes on to say that "in combat, DU wound
contamination and fragment implantation become more significant
pathways of entry. Based on the lessons learned in Desert Storm, the
army is developing procedures to better manage the internal exposure
potential for DU during combat."

Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives in
Washington, told the Voice that while experts argue, it seems possible
that depleted uranium inhaled by a child could result in cancers later
in life. He, too, suspected that hundreds of DU bombs are being used.
He noted that chances are that depleted uranium is being used, if only
because it's cheaper than tungsten.

But who's using it? In January 2001, a French TV documentary
reported that the DU in munitions may come from a contaminated
reprocessing plant in Paducah, Kentucky. Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld told a French publication in January that the U.S. had
found radiation in Afghanistan—but that it was from DU warheads
belonging to Al Qaeda. On Monday a spokesperson for the U.S. Central
Command said that it has "not used depleted uranium in Afghanistan."
Dai Williams, a DU researcher, has told reporters that if Al Qaeda is
responsible, there may be even more of a risk: That could mean the DU
might have come from Russia, and it could be even dirtier than that
from Paducah.


4. Janes report on Air and Missile strikes in the Afghan war

5. FAS links to guided missile and bomb specifications:

6. CDI Terrorism Project Action Update:


DU in Afghanistan
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