Vinci: Taliban prison revolt an inside job
MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Five members of a U.S. special operations force were injured -- three seriously -- when a U.S. warplane dropped a bomb near them Sunday in an attempt to control a prison uprising, the Pentagon said Monday. CNN's Alessio Vinci is in Mazar-e Sharif, near where the incident took place and filed this report.
VINCI: We received first reports of this incident when we arrived several hours ago at the compound just outside of Mazar-e Sharif. There is an uprising going on there between Northern Alliance soldiers and some Taliban fighters who surrendered over the weekend to Northern Alliance forces.
With the support of U.S. military personnel on the ground, the U.S. jets bombed the compound several times Sunday, killing several hundred Taliban fighters. And Monday, with the support of those targeting military personnel, the U.S. planes bombed the wrong side of the compound.
When we arrived, we saw one part of the wall, which had collapsed, and some of the Northern Alliance who witnessed the attack said one missile hit their command post, where they say there were several Northern Alliance and U.S. military personnel.
This report came to us earlier. Now the Pentagon is confirming there were five soldiers injured. None of these injuries are life threatening, and three of the soldiers are being transported to Uzbekistan, where the United States [has] a military base.
CNN: There are numerous questions as to how this revolt was carried out Sunday. Is there any indication from the reports you're getting there that this was an inside job and the Taliban troops had help?
VINCI: This seems to be an inside job. When we followed the convoys of prisoners arriving inside this fortress-like compound, which has also the Northern Alliance forces of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, we saw those 400-plus Taliban prisoners coming off those trucks, and I was extremely surprised how little security there was around the area where those prisoners were being searched and questioned and eventually led to their cells.
When we were there on Saturday, one of the Taliban fighters blew himself up with a hand grenade, killing two other Taliban fighters and two top Northern Alliance commanders.
And when that incident happened, everybody sort of went running away, and I realized there was very little control of what the Taliban soldiers -- the prisoners -- were going to do. And at that moment, fortunately, they decided either not to react, or at least to stay calm.
But I'm telling you, at that moment, there were about 20 or 30 Northern Alliance security forces armed with just machine guns, and there were more than 400 prisoners ready to react. And certainly a lot of people, a lot of soldiers here believe that once they were all inside, they had organized themselves to create really a big mess inside the compound.
Pentagon: Five U.S. troops injured in Afghanistan
November 26, 2001
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