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Hundreds of Dead after Afghan Prison Battle - 2001-11-28


Journalists and aid workers in Afghanistan touring the site of a three-day uprising by Taleban prisoners-of-war have found several hundred dead bodies in a prison compound near the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

British reports said tanks of the Northern Alliance remained inside the still-smoldering prison today (Wednesday), as Red Cross officials began removing bodies from the 19th-century fortress.

Amnesty International has called for an urgent probe of the fighting, amid unconfirmed reports that some of the rebellious prisoners may have been executed.

U-S officials say hundreds of pro-Taleban fighters from Chechnya, Pakistan and Arab countries died in battle and were not massacred. C-I-A officials confirmed today (Wednesday) that an American national killed at the start of the riots was C-I-A agent Johnny Spann. They provided no details on the circumstances of his death.

Earlier today (Wednesday), alliance officials said as many as 400 prisoners were killed in the revolt, which was put down with the help of U-S airstrikes and special forces on the ground.

Amnesty says the investigation should find the causes of the revolt and determine if the response to it was warranted. The rights group also called for urgent recommendations to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The revolt erupted late Sunday, when some of the prisoners reportedly began firing at guards using smuggled or stolen weapons. The prisoners were jailed after they surrendered last week at the city of Kunduz -- the last Taleban stronghold in northern Afghanistan.

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