Newsweek reported Sunday the U.N. has gathered enough evidence to justify a full-fledged criminal investigation into the deaths in Afghanistan of close to a thousand Taliban prisoners held by the U.S.-backed northern alliance. This according to a confidential UN memo.
According to the memo, evidence has been uncovered which substantiates the rumors of mass graves in an area called Dasht-i-Laili.
The captives allegedly died after being packed into sealed cargo containers en route from Konduz to the Northern Alliance prison at Sheberghan.
Amnesty International called for an investigation based on a British documentary called 'Massacre at Mazar.' The film described thousands of Taliban fighters being corralled into the containers after the battle of Konduz and claimed large numbers of prisoners died in the journey. The footage showed areas of compacted red sand, apparently caked with blood, traces of bones, including jaws, and pieces of clothing. At the time the jail in Sheberghan was under American control.
The Boston-based group, Physicians for Human Rights, sent its own team to investigate the reported massacre, and says it has repeatedly asked the US and Afghan governments, as well as the United Nations, to secure the gravesite and launch a comprehensive criminal investigation.
- Leonard Rubenstein, Executive Director, Physicians for Human Rights.