PAN, December 24, 2009

Afghan Civilians allegedly killed in custody

"The two were killed during custody and their bodies were thrown in the desert,"

Zubair Babakarkhail

Residents in the southeastern Khost province claimed that some people arrested from a village by foreign and local troops during an operation have been killed. However, the security officials rejected the claim as baseless.

Locals said the troops raided some houses in Molai village of Sabri district and arrested some people who were later killed in custody.

They said bodies of two of the arrested people were found in Salarno area on Thursday morning. The foreign troops, in a statement,had said that four armed men and some suspected militants were arrested during the operation. Locals said a total of nine people were arrested during the operation.

They said the two slain people had been identified as Zabit Said Rahman and Muhammad Sair. The bodies were found two kilometres from the Salarno base of the foreign troops in Khooni Khwar area.

Sabeel, a resident of Sabza village of Molai area, told Pajhwok Afghan News that all those killed in the operation were civilians. He said the troops had arrested nine people and taken them away during the operation.

He said four of the arrested people were freed the other day, bodies of two were found today, while fate of the other three was still unknown. "The two were killed during custody and their bodies were thrown in the desert," he added.

Mir Wali, nephew of one of the slain Zabit Said Rahman, said his uncle was a tribal elder and was arrested four days ago by the joint security forces. "All people in this area know that my uncle was a tribal elder," he added.

However, the security officials in Khost refused that the two people were killed during custody.

Commander Israr, who is leading the first brigade in Khost, admitted that the slain persons were among the arrested people. However, he said they were released the next day after their arrest.

He said the same people had resisted the troops during their arrest.

"They were firing at us and were not surrendering to the raiding troops," said the commander.

Similarly, an official at the press office of the NATO troops in the southeastern zone confirmed the operation in Sabri district and said they had launched investigations into the killing of the two people.

"We never kill people during custody," said the official.

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