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Saturday, September 5, 1998 Published at 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK

World: South Asia

Taleban grants access to strike target

The camp was damaged, but not destroyed

Watch the exclusive footage of the aftermath of the missile strikes
The Taleban authorities in Afghanistan have allowed the BBC to visit the camp that was hit in the United States cruise missile attack last month.

According to the Taleban, the camp in the Khost region was the one run by the Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden - the man the US accuses of organising the bomb attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

[ image: Pieces of the cruise missiles could be seen among the debris]
Pieces of the cruise missiles could be seen among the debris
Our correspondent Owen Bennett-Jones reports that Osama bin Laden escaped death by fortuitously changing his dinner arrangements on the night of the attack.

A journalist for the BBC Urdu Service said the local authorities confirmed that 21 people were killed in the American attack, including six Afghan civilians.

President Bill Clinton described the camp as one of the most active terrorist bases in the world.

[ image: There was anger over the destruction of mosques and holy books]
There was anger over the destruction of mosques and holy books
The US says it caused extensive damage to the Osama bin Laden bases during the cruise missile attack in August.

But the journalist, who visited the camp, said most buildings and ammunition dumps on the site he visited were undamaged, and the camps were never very elaborate to begin with.

Local people were nevertheless angry that mosques had been hit, and copies of the Koran destroyed in the resulting fires.

Of some 50 missiles fired at the site, at least three were found unexploded.

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