Afghan Massacre - The Convoy of Death

Five (UK), ARD (Germany), RAI (Italy), SBS (Australia), CBS (Canada)

This film tells of the horrific journey undertaken by thousands of Taliban prisoners who were inhumanely squeezed into containers on the way to Sheberghan Prison, following their surrender to America's Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to the United Nations, more than 2000 are unaccounted for, believed buried in the desert of Dasht-i-Leili in northern Afghanistan. In late 2009, after years of denial from the US, President Obama finally ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death (earlier title: Massacre at Mazar) is a 2002 documentary by Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran and Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi about alleged war crimes committed by the Junbish-i Milli faction of the Afghan Northern Alliance under General Abdul Rashid Dostum against Taliban fighters. The Taliban fighters, who had surrendered to Dostum's troops after the November 2001 siege of Kunduz, were transported to Sheberghan prison in sealed containers. Human rights groups estimate that hundreds or thousands of them died during and after transit. Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death presents testimony from interviewees stating that American military personnel were present at and complicit in some of the mass killings, known as the Dasht-i-Leili massacre.

A short early version of the documentary was shown to the European and German Parliaments in June 2002, causing widespread concern in Europe.  Against protests from the United States government, the completed documentary was shown later that year on many countries' national television channels, including German, British, Italian and Australian television. The programme was not screened in the U.S. and received no U.S. media coverage.  A Newsweek report in August 2002, based on a leaked UN memo, did confirm some of the details in Doran's documentary, as well as the presence of mass graves in the Dasht-i-Leili desert, but made no mention of the documentary.

In July 2009, Barack Obama, the president of the United States, ordered a probe into allegations that the Bush administration had resisted efforts to have the massacre investigated.



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