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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 13:40 GMT
Pakistan warns against revenge killings
Anti-Taleban fighters watch US attacks near Kunduz
US planes have continued their attacks on Kunduz
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has called on the international community to help avert a potential bloodbath in the besieged city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

The general appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations to help prevent revenge killings in the city where thousands of Taleban fighters and their foreign supporters are trapped.

There are fears that the anti-Taleban forces now moving on Kunduz might kill the foreigners - many believed to be volunteers from Pakistan - even if they surrender to them.

General Musharraf voiced his concerns in a meeting with the President of the ICRC, Jakob Kellenberger, in Islamabad.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf wants the West to help

"The president emphasised that the United Nations and the ICRC must do everything to ensure that these people are treated in accordance with international law", said a foreign ministry spokesman in the Pakistani capital.

According to the spokesman, Mr Kellenberger promised to try his best to prevent human rights abuses.

Appeal to Kofi Annan

Earlier this week, General Musharraf telephoned British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the US Secretary of State Colin Powell in an attempt to prevent a potential massacre in Kunduz.

The government also appealed to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

Refugees from Kunduz province
Civilians have been fleeing Kunduz province

The foreign ministry spokesman in Islamabad said the Pakistanis among the foreign fighters in the city would be allowed to enter Pakistan, where they would be dealt with under the law.

Thousands of Pakistani volunteers are believed to have joined the Taleban after the US started its military campaign in Afghanistan.

The government in Islamabad says they went to fight alongside the Taleban without permission.

Pakistan once had a close relationship with the Taleban and was one of their main supporters. But since the suicide attacks on the United States, Islamabad began cutting its ties with its old ally.

Afrasiab Khattack, Pakistani Human Rights Commission
"We are extremely concerned about the situation in Kunduz"
See also:

19 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan's Taleban ties dissolve
20 Nov 01 | South Asia
In pictures: Afghans flee Kunduz
19 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan detains Islamic 'army leader'
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