EU 'horror' at Afghan jail conditions

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 09:02:19 +0100

 Taleban prisoners in northern Afghanistan
Many were captured after the siege of Kunduz

A European Union envoy in Afghanistan has called for urgent action to
improve the conditions of hundreds of former Taleban fighters held
prisoner by the ethnic Uzbek faction leader, General Abdul Rashid


The people have nothing on their bones any more, they are being treated
like cattle, crammed into tents 

Klaus-Peter Klaiber 
Klaus-Peter Klaiber expressed horror and disbelief at the conditions he
had seen in the Shibarghan camp, near the northern city of

Mr Klaiber told the AFP news agency that the camp looked like the Nazi
concentration camp at Auschwitz. 

He said it was time for the Afghan interim government to tackle the

A spokesman for General Dostum, who is Afghanistan's Deputy Defence
Minister, said he shared concerns about the camp but funds were urgently
needed elsewhere. 

"This is not the time to ask for funds for the prison," Faizullah Zaki
said. "We need funds for schools and hospitals." 

He added that the general was willing to release the prisoners as long
as they did not include dangerous inmates. 

'Ghost-like figures' 

Over 2,000 prisoners are currently held at the camp. Most of them are
Afghans and the rest are from Pakistan, but all are ethnic Pashtuns. 

The prisoners are fed only on thin soup, and about 400 are so badly
malnourished that they are being fed by the Red Cross. 

Mr Klaiber said some prisoners were being kept in rooms 1.5 metres

 Taleban prisoner in northern Afghanistan
General Dostum says he cannot afford to improve conditions

"The people have nothing on their bones any more," he said. "They are
being treated like cattle, crammed into tents." 

"The kitchen, you cannot imagine. There were ghost-like figures just
stirring soup." 

He said he thought Prime Minister Hamid Karzai - an ethnic Pashtun like
most of the inmates - would be keen to get them sent home to avoid
raising tensions in the south of the country. 

Mr Klaiber urged the government to pay for their transfer by bus, as
many were too weak to make journeys of hundreds of kilometres by donkey.

He said there was already a momentum towards freeing the remaining
Pakistanis at the camp after an agreement between Kabul and Islamabad. 

On Saturday, 204 prisoners were flown back to the Pakistani border town
of Peshawar. 

Concerns about conditions 

Thousands of Taleban fighters were brought to the camp in December last
year after surrendering at the end of a long stand-off in the northern
city of Kunduz. 

 Former Pakistani prisoners in Peshawar
Over 200 Pakistanis were released on Saturday

Dozens are thought to have died of their wounds or asphyxiated during
the journey. 

Frequent concerns have been raised by human rights groups about
conditions for Taleban and al-Qaeda prisoners both in Afghanistan and in
the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

The US Government says that prisoners in Guantanamo are treated humanely
and within the Geneva Conventions. 

Source: BBC online


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