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Annan Recalls Killing of Iranians in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Secretary-General Kofi Annan, prodded by Iran, issued a statement Tuesday saying Afghanistan's Islamist Taleban movement had done little to bring to justice the killers of nine Iranians exactly a year ago.

Annan said he received a letter from Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi saying the Taleban had not made substantial progress in identifying and punishing the perpetrators of "these outrageous killings."

They took place a year ago in Iran's consulate general in Mazar-i-Sharif, soon after the northern Afghan city was captured by the Taleban.

Annan's statement, issued through a U.N. spokesman, said the secretary-general's special envoy and the U.N. Special Mission in Afghanistan "repeatedly, during the past 12 months," reminded the Taleban of resolutions and declarations by the General Assembly, the Security Council and other bodies, calling for "a serious and speedy investigation into that very grave incident."

Annan said the issue was again raised by his special envoy during a visit to Kabul in July.

"It should be recalled that during the same period thousands of Afghans, most of them civilians, were killed in northern Afghanistan, including thousands of Taleban fighters in Mazar-i-Sharif in May 1997," the U.N. statement said.

An independent investigator appointed to probe the mass killings in 1997 and 1998 was expected to submit his report in the near future to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Annan said.


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