The human rights community is quite astir about the deaths of the Taliban prisoners at Mazar-i-Sharif. It’s an accepted fact that the Taliban prisoners smuggled grenades into their prison, attacked their captors, siezed weapons, and fought for three days — after they had supposedly surrendered. Despite that, human rights groups are concerned that the US air raids on the fortress and Northern Alliance attacks on the prisoners that resulted in the deaths of all of them were not proportional. Frankly, I’m glad that the human rights groups are looking into this. If they accept our word at face value, they also have to accept the word of every tinpot warlord in the world when they claim that they didn’t kidnap and kill dissidents or raze villages or slaughter innocent civilians.
The main concerns center around the fact that we don’t know how many of the Taliban were armed and that some of them were tied up. It will be interesting to see what the investigations turn up. Given the information that I’ve seen, I don’t see how the prisoners could be brought under control without using the force that was used.