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Soldiers celebrate with executions

These are our Great "Allies"
Soldiers celebrate with executions

By David Rohde in Kalai Nasro, Afghanistan

Near an abandoned Taliban bunker, Northern Alliance soldiers dragged a wounded Taliban soldier out of a ditch. As the terrified man begged for his life, the alliance soldiers pulled him to his feet.

They searched him and emptied his pockets. Then one soldier fired two bursts from his rifle into the man's chest. A second soldier beat the lifeless body with his rifle butt. A third repeatedly smashed a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher into the man's head.

The murder on Monday occurred minutes after Northern Alliance soldiers, advancing towards Kabul, surged deep into Taliban territory. They chose to celebrate with executions.

Looting was widespread. Alliance soldiers, who have received extensive backing from the United States, plundered Taliban bodies and bunkers, stealing shoes, bags of sugar, torches and anything else they could find.

Aid agencies in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif were looted by retreating Taliban fighters and victorious Northern Alliance forces, United Nations officials said.

The UN Children's Fund lost its vehicles to the Taliban and their office equipment to the Northern Alliance, while several tonnes of aid were stolen from the World Food Program soon after the forces of General Abdul Rashid Dostum entered the city on Friday.

A UN spokeswoman in Islamabad said there were unconfirmed reports of looting, kidnappings, roving gunmen and summary executions in the city.

"In the past, each time Mazar and adjacent areas changed hands, violent atrocities were committed."

A UNICEF spokesman said a 10-truck convoy of relief goods was seized by Northern Alliance fighters as the city changed hands, while all the agency's own vehicles were taken by Taliban forces before they left. The fund was trying to establish contact with an opposition commander to try to get back the vehicles and 200 tonnes of cargo.

"Our colleagues reported that soon after the fall of the city, a group of armed people entered the UNICEF premises and removed almost every item inside, including computers, furniture and radio equipment," he said. No staff were injured.

A spokesman for the UN World Food Program said one of its warehouses was looted of 89 tonnes of aid.

"We have reports of looting, abductions of civilians from the city, uncontrolled freelance gunmen. Some street battles are ongoing."

The picture painted by the officials was radically different to witness accounts of a joyous celebration after the Taliban retreat.

The New York Times, The Telegraph, London



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