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Northern Alliance Defeats Rebellious Foreign Prisoners - 2001-11-27

In Afghanistan the Northern Alliance says its troops have all but put down a violent revolt by captured foreign soldiers in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Reports indicate hundreds may have died in the three day battle.

Witnesses say foreign prisoners who had escaped from their detention cells, Sunday fought a pitched battle with Northern Alliance troops for a third day Tuesday inside a mud fortress in Mazar-e-Sharif.

Some 200 additional Alliance soldiers were brought in Tuesday to put down the rebellion. The rebellion began Sunday when hundreds of Pakistani, Arab, and Chechen fighters captured from nearby Kunduz province seized weapons and tried to escape.

Northern Alliance troops, backed by U.S. warplanes and U.S. and British special forces, are believed to have killed most of the rioting prisoners who fought back with machine guns, rockets and mortars.

Television footage Tuesday showed several dozen bodies lying in the courtyard inside the fortress. Alliance commanders say 40 of their men were also killed in the three-day rampage.

Five U.S. troops wounded in the fight were flown to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where they are expected to recover. The Pentagon says the men were accidentally hit Monday by a U.S. bomb that missed its target.

But a CIA operative who had been working with Northern Alliance commanders inside the fortress is still missing. U.S. officials say they will not be able to confirm the fate of the operative until they secure and search the compound.

Meanwhile, another journalist has been killed covering the war in Afghanistan. Unknown gunmen robbed Swedish television cameraman Ulf Stromberg at a guesthouse in a northern town of Taloqan early Tuesday morning.

U.N. spokesman Khaled Mansour says the security situation in Afghanistan appears to be worsening for both journalists and humanitarian aid workers. "Another tragic example of the lack of security in certain parts of Afghanistan is making it too dangerous for the media as with the aid workers to perform their duties," he said.

Mr. Stromberg is the eighth journalist to be killed in Afghanistan since the U.S. military campaign began October 7.