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Officials Find Mass Graves in Northern Afghanistan - 2002-10-09


Officials in northern Afghanistan have discovered several mass graves filled with the remains of minority Shiite Muslims allegedly killed by the Taleban.

Authorities said (Wednesday) that at least three mass graves filled with bodies of ethnic Hazara Shiites were discovered near the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif. Reports say one of the graves in the Chamtal district, about 40 kilometers west of Mazar-e-Sharif, contained the remains of 350 Hazaras.

A Hazara spokesman said the communities have known of the graves for a long time, but were afraid to reveal them during the Taleban rule. The dead are believed to have been killed when the Taleban seized Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998.

Meanwhile, the U-N Human Rights Commission said it is sending an investigator to Afghanistan to investigate illegal executions. Special investigator Asma Jahangir will travel to Kabul on Sunday (October 13th) before visiting other cities and towns to, in her words, make a "balanced and independent" assessment about arbitrary executions.

International human rights groups have also cited atrocities committed by anti-Taleban forces, such as the Northern Alliance. The United Nations has sent investigators to look into the deaths of almost one-thousand Taleban fighters who allegedly suffocated in transport containers and then were buried in a mass grave near the northern city of Kunduz.

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