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Report: Taliban Shot at German Detainee

November 22, 2001|Reuters

BERLIN — One of the four German aid workers freed from a Taliban jail in Afghanistan last week was put through a mock execution during her imprisonment, according to a report published Wednesday in a German magazine.

Stern weekly said Shelter Now International worker Margrit Stebnar, 43, was forced to sit on a chair in a prison in Kabul, the Afghan capital, and shots were fired from close range past her head. The incident occurred shortly after she and seven other Western aid workers were arrested in August, the magazine said.

"The Taliban fired at her, missing her head by 50 centimeters," or 20 inches, the magazine said, without identifying which of the aid workers was its source.

The four German relief workers, held with two Australians and two Americans by the Taliban on charges of trying to spread Christianity, returned home Sunday.

German aid worker Georg Taubmann said he was shocked by the conditions in the Kabul prison where he and the others were held.

There were accused thieves in the jail facing amputations for stealing; other prisoners suffered torture.

"It was like out of the Middle Ages," Taubmann told Stern.

Had they been tried and convicted, the workers could have faced death sentences. But they were freed last week as the Taliban withdrew from Kabul under pressure from Northern Alliance opposition forces and the U.S.-led bombing campaign.

U.S. special operations helicopters picked up the group of eight workers in Ghazni, about 50 miles southwest of Kabul, after the town had fallen to the Northern Alliance.

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