Report: Dozens of Taliban Prisoners Died in Airtight Containers

Published December 11th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Dozens of Taliban who surrendered to the Northern Alliance died while being transported to a prison in sealed shipping containers, the New York Times reported Tuesday. 

The prisoners, many of them foreign fighters, died during the two to three-day journey from Kunduz to Shibarghan, Afghanistan, witnesses in Shibarghan told the daily. 

On Saturday, Northern Alliance commander Colonel General Jurabek said 43 prisoners had died from injuries or asphyxiation in six containers, while three others died from wounds after their arrival in Shibarghan. 

Several Pakistani prisoners, however, told the daily that many more people had died in the containers. One prisoner said all but seven people died from lack of air in his container, estimating the number dead at more than 100. 

Another prisoner said 13 people died in his container and that the survivors had taken turns at breathing through a hole in the metal wall. 

In the presence of Jurabek, a prisoner described as a 30-year-old mechanic said 35 people had perished in his container from lack of oxygen. Jurabek, the daily said, corrected the prisoner, saying only five or six had died. 

A local truck driver who spoke through acquaintances, said he saw soldiers unloading many bodies from a container outside the city. 

The prisoners came from Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan, where a bloody uprising of captured Taliban fighters last month took US-led Afghan forces two weeks to put down, causing the death of some 230 prisoners and one US Central Intelligence Agency officer -- the first US combat casualty of the Afghan campaign -- AFP

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