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600 captives dead, says Alliance: Qala-i-Jangi 'revolt' put down

QALA-I-JANGI, Afghanistan, Nov 27: Northern Alliance forces with US backing Tuesday put down a three-day rebellion by pro-Taliban prisoners that had left hundreds of captive fighters dead, a commander said.
600 captives dead, says Alliance: Qala-i-Jangi 'revolt' put down
by The Dawn 4:58am Wed Nov 28 '01


QALA-I-JANGI, Afghanistan, Nov 27: Northern Alliance forces with US backing Tuesday put down a three-day rebellion by pro-Taliban prisoners that had left hundreds of captive fighters dead, a commander said.

600 captives dead, says Alliance: Qala-i-Jangi 'revolt' put down

QALA-I-JANGI, Afghanistan, Nov 27: Northern Alliance forces with US backing Tuesday put down a three-day rebellion by pro-Taliban prisoners that had left hundreds of captive fighters dead, a commander said.

"It's over," said the commander, Mohammed Nuri. "There is no more fighting. But we will wait until tomorrow to enter because we fear that some of the bodies of the Taliban foreigners may be bobby-trapped with grenades."

After fierce exchanges of mortar and machine gun fire, and waves of US airstrikes since the 'revolt' erupted Sunday, alliance forces feared pockets of resistance might remain at the prison fortress in northern Afghanistan.

They fired several salvos into the fort where about 600 foreign soldiers, including some believed to be linked to Osama bin Laden, had been brought after their capture in the city of Kunduz to the east.

About 500 alliance troops, helped by US and British advisers, had encircled the prison at Qala-i-Jangi, 10km west of the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, hoping to smash the rebellion.

Some Northern Alliance commanders had reported an end to the uprising earlier Tuesday. But fighting continued.

US warplanes renewed their airstrikes on the prison, with AC-130 gunships seen dropping bombs overnight, apparently trying to hit a munitions warehouse taken by the prisoners, mostly Pakistanis, Arabs and Chechens.

The sound of mortars and Kalashnikov fire was also heard throughout the morning at the clay fortress built into the side of a mountain.

The prisoners had been brought here from Kunduz, the Islamic militia's last bastion in the north until its defences crumbled over the weekend.

One alliance official said that 300 to 400 of the prisoners had been killed while another said "almost all" of the 600 were dead. Nuri said about 45-50 alliance soldiers were killed in the fighting.

US and British military advisers have been on the scene apparently guiding airstrikes from the ground. Jeeps transporting American and British soldiers arrived at the fort early Tuesday.

Northern Alliance troops said eight of their comrades had been killed Sunday when a wayward US bomb hit one of their tanks.

Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said five US military personnel were injured Sunday in a US airstrike at the prison.

Olim Razm, a spokesman on political affairs for local alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostam, said an American special forces soldier was killed along with 40 of Dostam's troops as they tried to put down the uprising on Sunday.

The Pentagon denied any US military personnel were killed in the battle, but a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Islamabad said an investigation was under way concerning other categories of personnel. -AFP

www.dawn.com/2001/11/28/top3.htm
 
 

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