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November 24, 2001
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Taleban tortured infants, children: Report

T V Parasuram in Washington

Afghan Infants and young children were victims of torture and atrocities perpetrated by the Taleban in the garb of religion and strict adherence to the faith, a Web site has said.

Among the accounts of mutilations, beatings and arbitrary executions by the militia was the evidence of a new abomination -- torture of children, the Web site of the US State Department's Office of International Information Programs said, quoting British and American media reports.

An unknown number of infants were savagely beaten, usually for the supposed crimes of their parents, during the militia's 14-month occupation of Taloqan, the former headquarters of the Northern Alliance, it said.

"The barbarity of the Taleban plumbed new depths when troops shot dead eight boys" in Kunduz recently "for daring to laugh. The teenage lads had been chuckling at the soldiers who raised their Kalashnikov rifles and gunned them down".

It said, "The Taleban is jailing children as young as 10 in Kabul to root out dissent... According to French journalist Michel Peyrard, who was held by the Taleban for 25 days, the biggest threat to the extremist regime is its own paranoia. He said his fellow detainees included several children."

"The Taleban commanders killed 100 of our friends. They hung their bodies from lamp posts as a warning to the rest of us," it quoted a defector as saying.

According to the reports, Arab and Pakistani soldiers with the Taleban had also begun shooting young civilians of Uzbek and Tajik ethnic groups suspected of trying to escape to territory controlled by the Northern Alliance.

PTI

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