U.S. Soldiers Watched Massacre of
In his film "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," which was
broadcast on Germany's ARD television network, Doran quotes
witnesses who saw U.S. special forces stand by and watch as Northern
Alliance allies murdered Taliban POWs.
A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin rejected claims made
in the film.
"The claims are completely false that American soldiers were
involved in the torture, execution and disappearance of Taliban
prisoners," the spokesman said. "In no way did U.S. troops
participate or witness any human rights violations."
Doran, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who covered the
Afghan war for Japanese television, said in an interview with
Reuters in Berlin up to 3,000 Taliban POWs were killed late last
year after surrendering at Kunduz in northern Afghanistan (news
"This film is about the disappearance and murder of up to 3,000
Taliban POWs and the involvement of the U.S. special forces in that
disappearance," Doran said after members of the German parliament
invited him to discuss the alleged massacre.
"U.S. SOLDIERS STOOD BY"
Doran, 46, said witnesses from different ethnic groups in
Afghanistan told him during his investigation into the suspected war
crimes they saw Taliban POWs herded into unventilated shipping
containers, where many died of suffocation, thirst, or starvation.
In the film broadcast on Wednesday, eyewitnesses are quoted
saying some of the Taliban held in the containers for up to four
days had taken to licking sweat off each other and even biting into
the corpses lying next to them out of desperation.
One witness said about 600 Taliban POWs who survived the shipment
of the containers to the Shiberghan prison 75 miles away were taken
to a spot in the desert at Dasht-e-Leili and executed -- in the
presence of about 30 to 40 U.S. special forces soldiers.
"All the injured and sick were transferred to my truck," said one
eyewitness identified as a truck driver but whose face was concealed
in the film. "Some were injured, some were unconscious. They were
shot here and here and here," he added, pointing to spots in the
The truck driver, who said he made four trips with about 150
Taliban in a container on the back of his truck, was asked if
American soldiers were present at the executions in the desert.
"Yes, they were here," he said, standing in the center of a 1,000
square meter (10,760 square foot) mass grave site where bones, army
uniform fragments and bullet casings were filmed. "Lots of them,
maybe 30 to 40. The first two trips they were here. I didn't see
them on my last two trips."
Doran's 55-minute film also includes allegations from witnesses
who say they saw U.S. soldiers taking part in the torture of Taliban
POWs at the Shiberghan prison.
Doran said he spent six weeks trying unsuccessfully to obtain
comment from the Pentagon (news
sites) in Washington for his film.
"I would like to see the American authorities agree to a proper
investigation," he said. "They have nothing to fear from the truth.
I have the feeling they hope the story will go away.
"We establish beyond a reasonable doubt that U.S. soldiers stood
by and did nothing to prevent it (the massacre)," he added. "I have
absolutely no evidence that American troops were involved in the
shooting that took place in the desert."
Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum has rejected reports his
troops killed up to 1,000 Taliban fighters by taking them to
Shiberghan prison in the airless containers. He said up to 200 died,
but they were already badly injured from fighting.
Dostum was a key U.S. ally in late 2001 when he helped oust the
Taliban from northern Afghanistan with the help of U.S. air attacks.
U.S. special forces are still in the north working with leaders to
hunt Taliban and al Qaeda members.
Doran said his documentary was screened on commercial and public
networks in Britain, Australia and Italy. Rights have been sold or
are about to sold to networks in 25 territories.