ISLAMABAD, Dec 11: Following reports that significant numbers of Al-Qaeda fighters are surrendering in the Tora Bora region of southern Afghanistan, Amnesty International called for appropriate arrangements to be made for the processing and protection of prisoners, many of whom are likely to be non-Afghan nationals.

A press release issued by Amnesty said the recent events at the Qila-i-Jangi fort near Mazar-i-Sharif, where several hundred captured Taliban fighters and others were killed in disputed circumstances, and news reports on Tuesday that dozens of others apparently died of suffocation in sealed shipping containers when being transported to a prison in Shibarghan, heighten concerns for the treatment of any other surrendering combatants.

The key role of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in overseeing the processing and treatment of prisoners must be facilitated to ensure that people are properly protected, AI said.

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