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300 revolting Al Qaeda prisoners killed

300 revolting Al Qaeda prisoners killed

Author:
Publication: Rediff on Net, US Edition
Date: November 26, 2001

United States Defence Department spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dan Stoneking on Sunday night confirmed reports that atleast 300 Chechen, Pakistanis and Arabs -- belonging to Al Qaeda -- were killed after US airstrikes were used to control an insurrection by the militiamen, who had surrendered and were jailed in the Qalai Janghi fortress, near Mazar-e-Sharif.

He said the fighters had smuggled weapons under their tunics into the Qalai Janghi fortress and tried to fight their way out.

The Northern Alliance said most of the prisoners were killed.

The uprising began about 11 am on Sunday (0630 GMT), witnesses said.

Alliance spokesman Zaher Wahadat said the prisoners seized other weapons from their guards and captured an ammunition depot, using its contents to fight the troops sent in to put down the revolt.

He said the prisoners broke down the doors and tried to escape.

As outnumbered guards perched on the compound's walls fired wildly down at the prisoners, a US special forces soldier trapped amid the chaos could be seen in footage by Germany's ARD television network using a phone to call in airstrikes and reinforcements.

"There are hundreds dead here at least," the US soldier, who identified himself only as David, could be heard saying on Germany's ARD television network.

"I don't know how many Americans there were. I think one was killed, but I'm not sure," David said in the footage.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency said troops loyal to Northern Alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostam took control of Kunduz on Sunday after 2,500 of his men moved into the city overnight.

The report quoting another alliance commander said the nearby city of Khaabad also fell to his forces without a fight.

The Taleban now only hold the southern city of Kandahar and a few mainly desert provinces in the south, Afghanistan's ethnic Pushtoon heartland.
 


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