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U.S. Turns Over 27 Detainees From Hazar Qadam Raid

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2002 – U.S. Central Command officials have turned over 27 detainees to Afghan Interim Authority officials.

The detainees were taken into custody because they fired on U.S. forces during a Jan. 24 raid on suspected Taliban compounds near the village of Hazar Qadam. Army Gen. Tommy Franks told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday that U.S. officials later determined they were neither Al Qaeda nor Taliban.

The detainees were turned over to Afghan authorities Feb. 6, the Central Command chief said. "The suspicion when we surrendered them (was) that at least some number of them were criminals, and they were received by Afghan authorities as criminals," he noted.

Central Command is investigating the circumstances of the January raid by U.S. special operations forces. An Army Green Beret was wounded in the raid that, according to press reports, killed about 18 suspected Taliban fighters.

Franks said Afghanistan's Interim Authority Chairman Hamid Karzai told him a few days after the incident that "he believed there may well have been some friendlies associated with him in the general area of this contact."

Based on that, Franks said, he told Karzai he would investigate. That probe is now under way, he said, and he expects it will be completed within two weeks.

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