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U-N Probing Taleban Prisoner Deaths - 2002-09-02


The United Nations is sending investigators to northern Afghanistan to look into the controversial deaths of hundreds of Taleban prisoners.

U-N Afghan mission spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told reporters Sunday in Kabul that U-N officials will meet with Abdul Rashid Dostum after he and other Northern Alliance commanders pledged to cooperate in the investigation.

The commanders issued a statement Friday saying 200 Taleban prisoners had died, but mainly as the result of wounds suffered in battle.

Commander Dostum denied accusations that his forces caused almost a thousand Taleban prisoners to die from suffocation by sealing them in shipping containers for transfer to prison, then burying them in a mass grave near the northern city of Kunduz.

Northern Alliance commanders also want an investigation into whether the Taleban is responsible for atrocities in the region.

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