From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Sun Dec 15 2002Hundreds of Afghan Prisoners Suffocated in Shipping Containers
Massacre at Mazar
On November 26 2001, the Northern Alliance, backed by US airpower captured the city of Kunduz from the Taliban. The mainstream press gloated at the fall of the last Taliban stronghold in Northern Afghanistan. But, soon reports came in of possible widespread killing of prisoners who surrendered when the city fell. In December, the UK Guardian reported that following the capture of Kunduz, "dozens of Taliban prisoners died after surrendering to Northern Alliance forces, asphyxiated in the shipping containers used to transport them to prison". In 2001 the ICRC found a mass grave near Mazar-e-Sharif containing over 600 bodies thought to be of prisoners from Konduz. The UN briefly attempted to investigate reports of mass graves, but in August 2002 the U.N. special representative in Afghanistan stated that "the weakness of the Afghan government and the risk to investigators or witnesses make it almost impossible to investigate reports that there are mass graves in northern Afghanistan." In November 2002, the UN found evidence that General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a leading Afghan warlord and strong US ally, "tortured witnesses to stop them from testifying against him in a war crimes inquiry" surrounding the mass graves. Scottish filmmaker Jamie Doran released a movie in late 2002 titled "Massacre at Mazar" offering eyewitness testimony and footage of the US backed war crimes in Afghanistan.