U.S. documents alleged Taliban atrocities
By Kelly Wallace
HAGERSTOWN, Maryland (CNN) -- Eight boys, killed because they laughed at soldiers. An entire family burned alive. And 100 Afghans, slain and hung from lamp posts to warn would-be defectors.
These were among the alleged Taliban and al Qaeda atrocities cited Thursday in a White House report. The report, released in Washington, London and Islamabad, listed media accounts over the past several weeks.
The report also includes allegations of atrocities dating back to September 1996, when the Taliban captured Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul, castrated the country's president, and killed and tortured his brother, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Other alleged atrocities in the report:
-- The 1998 massacre of 600 Uzbek villagers.
-- The 1998 capture of Mazar-e Sharif, which included, according to Human Rights watch, the execution of scores of men and boys and the rape of women and girls. The Defense Department also said shop owners, cart pullers, and women and children shoppers were killed.
-- A 2001 massacre in Yakaolang, which included, according to Human Rights Watch, the executions of at least 170 men.
The White House said it released the report now, after the Taliban has lost control of 27 of 30 Afghan provinces, to send a message to the entire world about the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
"This list of al Qaeda atrocities represents the vision of society they hope to export to other parts of the world," said Jim Wilkinson, White House deputy communications director. "It's important to highlight their vision so the whole world can see just how disturbing it is."
The report was released through the administration's "Coalition Information Center," which was formed to counter statements from the Taliban and al Qaeda, and to help the United States win the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims.
The administration's newest office, in Islamabad, opened this week. Kenton Keith, a former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, now briefs reporters Monday through Friday in Islamabad.
The release of the report also comes as the president over the past few days stepped up efforts to make the case that a victory in Afghanistan will not mean an end to the international campaign against terrorism.
During a visit Wednesday to U.S. troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Bush said Afghanistan is "just the beginning" of the war on terrorism.
"America has a message for the nations of the world," said the president to a cheering crowd of troops, including members of the 101st Airborne Division. "If you harbor terrorists, you are terrorists. If you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends."
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