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More than 3,000 Taliban held in Afghan prison: ICRC
Monday December 3, 5:50 PM  AFP
More than 3,000 Taliban fighters captured during fighting around Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz are being held in a northern Afghanistan prison.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representative Bernard Barrett said Monday the prisoners had been brought to Shibarghan, about 120 kilometres (74 miles) west of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Mazar-i-Sharif fell to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance on November 9, triggering a rout of the Islamic militia in the north capped by their surrender of Kunduz on November 26 after a two-week siege.

While no figure was ever given for the number of Taliban surrendering or captured at Mazar-i-Sharif, Northern Alliance officials said some 5,000 Afghan militiamen and 750 foreigners had given up at Kunduz.

The pro-Taliban foreigners were taken to a prison fortress outside Mazar-i-Sharif and some 450 were killed during a three-day rebellion suppressed by alliance forces and US warplanes, alliance officials said.

Barrett refused to say if the prisoners at Shibarghan were Afghan Taliban or foreigners.

But he indicated that their numbers included some 80 men who had survived the armed rebellion in the prison fortress of Qala-e-Jangi, close to Mazar-i-Sharif.

He also said 18 of the prisoners at Shibarghan were injured, three of them seriously.

The ICRC had tried to visit the detainees on Sunday but had been told to wait due to security concerns. Barrett said he hoped the visit would go ahead Monday.

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