Convoy of Death: fact or fiction? 3,000 massacred in Afghanistan?

As a bandwidth-challenged American, I am unable to view this documentary. I have been able to find only a small portion of the transcript. Its claims are outright shocking, especially:

Who’s seen this film? Has it truly been broadcast virtually everywhere but America? Are the filmmaker’s allegations to be believed?

If you Google for “taliban prisoners massacre,” you’ll get a bunch of hits. Oddly, and somewhat disturbingly, all of the stories are two years old. The story seems to have dropped off the face of the earth, other than the May, 2003, U.S. showing of the documentary on

Is it true? Sure sounds like it - no one has denied it, as far as I can tell.

(I haven’t seen it - it appears to require RealPlayer, which I won’t install, since I regard it as being almost indistinguishable from a trojan.)

I saw some of this months ago (some was also broadcasted on TV in EU ). I don’t know if it were the reports you talk about or similar, but what I saw included witnessing of survivors.
There are also people who now recently told about this. These are survivors of containers who next where brought to Guatanamo under appalling conditions and were only recently released without any charges made gainst them.

Of course one can not be certain of anything yet I did not get the impression that something was staged to make “a good shocking film”.
The reality is that some warlords were already used to do such things (and other innocent things like having a prisoner runned over by an armed vehicle ressembling a tank, and then let other prisoners scratching the pieces from the ground etc…) and that the US military at the very least seem to have encouraged/allowed it to keep happening. Which should not surprize you at all since it is only a following of the reasoning " A dead Afghani is always better then a living one because … Aren’t all these bearded Turban wearers Taliban Scum? Let’s give the warlords the means and the support to do their thing like they are used to do it… = Use “the natives” like we did when we wanted the Russians out of there."

Salaam. A

I never see or even heard of the film, but the events you’re mentionning had been quite widely reported at this time. They haven’t been suddenly undisclosed by a movie-maker. I assumed this was common knowledge.

Rereading more closely the details of your post, I don’t remember any direct involvment of the US forces as in * “They also say US Special Forces re-directed the containers carrying the living and dead into the desert and stood by as survivors were shot and buried” * being reported. More exactly, some witnesses certainly accused the american forces/intelligence of being directly involved, but there was no evidences of it presented at the time it hapened, as far as I remember.

But the, as you put it, “convoys of death” themselves were reported in the news coverage of the Afghanistan war on the TV news, in newpapers, etc…

Newsweek reported this story at the time and with some gruesome details. Many wondered where the Special Forces that were following the Northern alliance saw or did … but nothing conclusive.

They broadcast that documentary or a similar one here. As I recall, the accusations involving the US were that US soldiers stood by and watched while their allies shot up the containers. No idea if this was true or not, just reiterating the claims made in the documentary.

It didn’t get a great deal of media coverage though, as I recall.

There’s a lot of talk of US soldiers in the clips, “standing by” and “were present”. But there is no mention of them actively commiting the atrocities. The news at the time seemed pretty clear to me. The Northern Alliance was getting nasty, and the US did eventually put some pressure on them to reign them in. Afghanistan doesn’t have much of a history in the humane treatment of prisoners, and the prisoners were surrendered combatants. Which historically have a pretty low survival rate in Afghanistan.

There was a claim that standing by without intervening was in itself criminal, but they don’t give the details of the situation. They claim 30 to 40 US soldiers were there, but in what capacity? How many NA were there? What was the command structure? A large number of US soldiers were sent to be “observers” of the NA. What would the role of an observer be in this situation?

I can understand a claim that Northern Alliance members should be brought up on war crimes. I could understand a claim that the US chain of command acted slowly when reports came in. I could understand claims that the chain failed in their duty to report war crimes to the Hague. But this was reported by the news at the time, it’s not as if it’s a secret, so some reporting had clearly gone on. There were also summary executions in the field, and reports of rape and pillaging by the NA. But this guy seems to want the US soldier as the main actor, while little is said about the NA and their history against the Taliban, and to a larger degree, the Taliban’s foreign fighters.

All in all, this is old news.

To add a little background on my previous post re: foreign Taliban fighters (cites will be slim, I’m going off memory). The Kunduz seige was interesting in that the Taliban put the foreign fighters there, then got the hell out of Dodge. The foreign fighters had little respect from the Taliban, and pure disdain from the NA.

Honor among locals in Afghan battles had historically been heavily culturally dictated, and even surrender had to be done in accordance with the traditionally dictated ways. This is why oftentimes the Taliban before surrendering would engage in a little bit of a battle before surrendering. But the seige at Kunduz made it so that type of surrender wouldn’t be possible. I recall video clips of Taliban Foreigners surrendering to the NA only to be gunned down while disarmed (As well as older video clips of Russian soldiers surrendering only to meet the same fate at the hands of the Taliban).

To feign suprise and attempt to deflect the actions to the US soldier is a ruse and it forgets the history of the whole NA/Taliban/Afghanistan conflict. Had the NA been allowed to act outside of the US presence, I suspect that not a single foreign combatant from Kanduz would have a beating heart today.

What if I have a similar aversion to Google?! :eek: :wink:

The bubble begins again. $1,000 for two month’s of advertising for 2 good hits! But we digress.

I respectfully disagree.

Personally, I want bland, unvarnished facts. Are you saying that the film is needlessly sensational?

If you are speaking strictly from the perspective of Military Strategy, then no, I’m not surprised. But if you are extrapolating that idea onto the American populace, then I am afraid you are sorely mistaken. The vast majority, it seems, is roundly disinterested in Afghanistan.

This topic is important, now, because of the siege of the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf and the simultaneous, deadly raids in Sadr City. There are no cameras near those battles; reporters are regularly fired upon by Iraqi police and Iraqi soldiers. Notable photo and film journalists have been murdered, captured or expelled. There is little historical record of what is happening right now in Iraq.

Just as we used the invading Northern Alliance to bury our Taliban problem, we now use Muqtada. The people of Iraq are shattering at the feet of a young cleric; our bellicosity against him is a convenient ruse, a titular assault to cover the purge of the Shi’a. Now that the penalty for insurgency is once again public beheading, every defense of Muqtada is necessarily a fight to the death. Against American Might, his followers are mowed down like paper targets.

If we were speaking of any other nation, these actions would be decried as Ethnic Cleansing, but America is so skilled, so clever in its obfuscation. And there is little argument from Iraqi Security Forces, because the puppet regime of Allawi has flooded the police stations and army barracks with Baathists.

A final, sad parallel in the two stories is the root of the Taliban itself, for entombed in the besieged mosque is the body of its namesake. As the earthly remains of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib slumber beneath the shrine, the graceful, gilded dome is slowly perforated, the walls pocked with shell and slug, the holy floors pooled with the blood of the tragic misinformed. Too soon, the memory of this desecration will yield yet more meat for the machine, and the circle will again be complete.

This story needs to be told. If I must, I will do it by proxy.

Forgive me. The horror of this particular atrocity was aired more-or-less when it happened. All of us who follow military affairs were aware of it. It was certainly picked up by major mainstream news outlets.

It was not hushed up.

On the other hand it never made the Big News. You and I might agree that it is a story that deserved more attention, but in truth The World at Large more or less shrugged its collective shoulders.

Ethnic cleansing? These are a few thousand idiots who openly declared themselves opposed to the very idea of a decent government. The Iraqis hate them because they’re bastards. Al-Sadr can’t even get support from his own religion. We’d have to kill a few million more people to get a decent start on ethnic cleansing.

How did we move from Afghanistan to Iraq? Seasonal migration?

You didn’t REALLY think this was about Afghanistan, did you? It was about how evil America is. And on that tack, all roads ultimately lead to Iraq…


It must be seasonal. I see some folks are even building snowmen.

This is what fascinates me about the subject, and the main reason for starting the thread. I’ve wondered how people would react to this film if it were shown at our local art-house. Based on most of what I’ve read here, though, I don’t think the film’s content would bother too many people. Who will show up to watch it?! :slight_smile:

Personally, I took no offense at your “old news” response. In fact, I rather expected it from many, mainly foreign, Dopers. The sad truth is, the slaughter of 3,000 people is nothing new or very remarkable. For instance, my OP was posted on the eve of the Massacre at Acre, where 3,000 unarmed hostages were beheaded by troops and citizens loyal to King Richard. That was in what? 1189?

Old, old news, indeed.

Have you by chance checked out whats going on right now in the Sudan? Sorry, I can’t really generate a lot of new interests about this. I read about it when it happened after all (sorry you seem to have missed it originally). Trying to drag the US into this story by implicating them in the massacre (a story thats several years old btw) and dragging Iraq which has zero to do with the original story into the mix, smacks of…well, I’m sure you can figure that out.