Call For Inquiry Into Qala-i-Jhangi Violence
Afghanistan: Amnesty International calls for urgent inquiry into violence in Qala-i-Jhangi
* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *
27 November 2001
Following news reports of hundreds of killings during clashes within the Qala-i-Jhangi, a fort on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif, Amnesty International is calling on the United Front, the United States and the United Kingdom to investigate these events.
After negotiating a surrender, hundreds of foreign troops fighting with the Taliban were escorted from Kunduz to the fort by the United Front last weekend. The circumstances surrounding the fighting that followed are still not clear, although initial reports indicate that some prisoners overpowered guards and seized firearms. British and US special forces are reported to have been involved in the fighting, including by directing US air strikes.
An urgent inquiry should look into what triggered this violent incident, including any shortcomings in the holding and processing of the prisoners, and into the proportionality of the response by United Front, US and UK forces. It should make urgent recommendations to ensure that other instances of surrender and holding of prisoners do not lead to similar disorders and loss of life, and that the key role of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in overseeing the processing and treatment of prisoners is facilitated. The outcome of this inquiry, and any disciplinary or other measures that may be taken against anyone found responsible for wrongdoing, should be made public.
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