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The BBC's Matt Frei
"The Taleban has turned the clock back to the dark ages"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 18:01 GMT
Taleban accuse rebels of massacre
Opposition soldiers
The alleged massacre occurred during a rebel advance
Afghanistan's Taleban militia have accused opposition forces of massacring at least 120 civilians.


The Taleban spread these fabrications to conceal their crimes in Yakawlang

Hezb-e-Wahdat spokesman
They allege the massacre took place during the opposition's brief occupation of the central city of Bamiyan last week.

The allegation follows a Human Rights Watch report detailing the mass killing of civilians by Taleban troops in Yakawlang in central Afghanistan last month.

Both sides have denied involvement in the incidents.

Map of Afghanistan
The Taleban's official Shariat newspaper quoted travellers as saying the victims of the Bamiyan massacre were on their way to Kabul from the north when opposition fighters attacked their convoy.

"They set the trucks and the travellers' property on fire and killed at least 120 innocent travellers," Shariat said.

Troops of the Hezb-e-Whadat faction captured the strategically key city of Bamiyan last Wednesday, but were driven out three days later by the Taleban.

Opposition denial

The opposition said the Taleban had made up the allegations to divert world attention from the Yakawlang atrocity.

"We were at least 12 km east of the highway," Wahdat spokesman Reza Alizadah told the AFP news agency.

"The Taleban spread these fabrications to conceal their crimes in Yakawlang," he said.

Human Rights Watch said the Taleban massacred as many as 300 Shi'a Muslim civilians over four days in January.

The organisation interviewed more than 30 people from Yakawlang who say the Taleban troops rounded up men from the bazaar and nearby villages after they recaptured the district from the opposition.

The Taleban denied the allegation.

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See also:

19 Feb 01 | AudioVideo
Taleban accused of mass killing
17 Feb 01 | South Asia
Taleban 'recapture' Bamiyan
14 Feb 01 | South Asia
UN warns of Afghan catastrophe
19 Jan 01 | South Asia
New UN sanctions on Taleban
12 Feb 01 | Americas
Diplomatic row for US and Taleban
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