The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jonathan Hutson
jhutson [at] phrusa [dot] com
Cell: +1-857-919-5130

Afghan General Dostum Denies Allegations of Massacre of Taliban Prisoners; Confirms Their Joint Surrender to US and Afghan Forces

Physicians for Human Rights Says His Denial Flies in the Face of Documentation


"The facts gathered in the Dasht-e-Leili mass grave case contradict General Abdul Rashid Dostum's statement of July 17,"
stated Physicians for Human Rights Deputy Director Susannah Sirkin. "He
denies that the alleged massacre of as many as 2,000 surrendered
Taliban prisoners ever occurred. By claiming that the allegations are
politically motivated, Dostum is clearly trying to distract focus from
the substantial documentation collected over seven years of investigation by Physicians for Human Rights, the UN, and award-winning investigative journalists."

"Dostum makes a significant admission by confirming in his statement
that Taliban prisoners surrendered jointly to US forces and to
US-allied Afghan forces in November 2001 outside Konduz, Afghanistan,"
stated Nathaniel Raymond, Physicians for Human Rights' lead researcher
on the Dasht-e-Leili case.

"Furthermore," said Raymond, "Dostum's blanket denial should be seen in the context of clear indications of evidence-tampering at the Dasht-e-Leili site
where bodies are suspected to be buried, and the fact that at least
four witnesses in this case have been tortured, killed or disappeared."

"Physicians for Human Rights applauds the US State Department's reported efforts
to ensure that Dostum not return from exile in Turkey to assume a
position of power in Afghanistan," stated Sirkin. "However, a full,
formal and transparent investigation into the allegations against
Dostum and the evidence that the Bush Administration impeded at least
three federal probes into the case must be launched by the US and
Afghanistan. Witnesses must be protected and the Dasht-e-Leili site
must be secured."

PHR was founded in 1986 on the idea that health professionals, with their specialized skills, ethical duties, and credible voices, are uniquely positioned to investigate the health consequences of human rights violations and work to stop them. PHR mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity, and justice and promotes the right to health for all.