Taliban massacre thousands of civilians in Mazar: AI

LONDON, September 3, 1998 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban forces massacred thousands of members of an ethnic minority group after capturing the city of Mazar-i-Sharif last month, the Amnesty International human rights group said Thursday.

Amnesty, whose report was based on testimony from local people who said they were eyewitnesses, said: "Taliban guards deliberately and systematically killed thousands of Hazara civilians during the first three days following their military takeover" of the city on August 8.

"The victims were killed deliberately and arbitrarily in their homes, in the streets where the bodies were left for several days, or in locations between Mazar-i-Sharif and Hairatan. Many of those killed were civilians, including women, children and the elderly who were shot trying to fleet the city."

According to Amnesty, 10 Iranian diplomats and an Iranian journalist who Tehran say have been kidnapped by the Taliban "are said to have been killed when Taliban guards entered the Iranian Consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif."

The Taliban deny holding the 11 Iranians. However, Iran is putting pressure on the Afghan rulers by conducting war games near the Afghan border.

On Thursday, the Taliban authorities released five other Iranians captured in Mazar-i-Sharif, including three trucks drivers.

The Islamic militia accused the Iranian truck drivers of transporting military equipment for the opposition alliance, which was backed by Iran.

Full text of Amnesty International report

UN report details Taliban 'killing frenzy'
How the Taliban slaughtered thousands of people

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