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Taliban survivors of prison revolt surrender

From Alessio Vinci

MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan (CNN) -- More than 80 Taliban fighters emerged Saturday from a prison in northern Afghanistan where hundreds of their comrades were killed in a revolt this week.

The survivors began coming out Friday night after the Northern Alliance flooded the basement of the compound. Eighteen of the prisoners are seriously wounded and in need of immediate medical attention, the Red Cross said.

About 300 Taliban fighters who had surrendered in Konduz launched the uprising Sunday. Scores of Northern Alliance fighters and a CIA operative were killed trying to put down the revolt, and U.S. jets bombed the area several times.

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Red Cross workers said at least three prisoners, including one with a fractured skull, were in danger of dying if not taken to a hospital immediately. The Northern Alliance soldiers were treating the Taliban survivors well, giving them food and blankets, according to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross stopped collecting bodies from the compound Thursday when Taliban holdouts began shooting at rescue workers, killing one and wounding two others.

The prisoners had smuggled weapons and explosives into the prison compound, which is west of Mazar-e Sharif. A top Taliban leader said the rebellious prisoners were mostly non-Afghan fighters who acted on their own.

Northern Alliance forces said Monday they lost between 100 and 150 fighters in the uprising. CIA operative Johnny "Mike" Spann, 32, was among the dead, and five U.S. servicemen were injured when an American jet bombed a target near their position.

Northern Alliance commanders said nearly all the estimated 600 prisoners, including Pakistanis, Arabs and Chechens, were killed in three days of bloody fighting.

Amnesty International has called for a public inquiry into events at the prison, and the human rights organization said it would consider sending an observer to investigate the deaths.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the prison guards had "every right in the world" to fight back against Taliban prisoners who were battling them.


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