Afghanistan: Massacre in Yakaolang

Amnesty International, March 28, 2001
AI Index: ASA 11/007/2001

Amnesty International today issued a report on January's massacre of over 300 unarmed men and a number of civilian women and children by Taleban forces in Yakaolang, in Bamiyan province.

According to eyewitness accounts, Taleban forces began to arrest and execute Hazara people over several days after recapturing Yakaolang district from Hezb-e Wahdat armed forces on 7 January.

Eyewitnesses also reported the deliberate killing of dozens of civilians hiding in a mosque. One person said: "Some people in Kata Khana ran to the mosque thinking the Taleban would respect the sanctity of the mosque, but they were wrong." They said they saw Taleban soldiers fire rockets at the mosque where some 73 women, children and elderly men had taken shelter. No one was allowed access to the mosque for three days and only two young children survived.

Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has denied the massacres took place and banned journalists from visiting the district.

Witnesses also told Amnesty International that Hezb-e Wahdat forces carried out at least four summary executions during the several days they were in control of Yakaolang in late December 2000.

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