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Afghan Commander Orders Execution Of Prisoners Taken In Battle

An Afghan regional security chief has instructed his forces to kill militants detained in battle instead of transferring them to prosecutors to go on trial, in clear violation of international norms.

Aminullah Amarkhail, security commander of northern Baghlan Province, told RFE/RL on August 13 that several militants who had been detained, tried, and imprisoned in recent months had eventually been set free under dubious circumstances.

Amarkhail said, "Many of the freed insurgents returned to militancy."

Amarkhail said a militant freed from a Baghlan prison last month joined the Taliban again and was involved in the kidnapping of two employees of the Rural Development Ministry in early August.

The hostages have not yet been released.

Amarkhail said his order -- which violates the Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners of war -- was his "own, personal" decision.

Similar instructions were issued by Kandahar's security chief, Abdul Razzaq, earlier this month.