In a harrowing chase across the tomato and squash fields of this village just south of Kabul, the fugitives hijacked three trucks, beat a farmer who tried to stop them with his bird-hunting rifle, killed three soldiers with the soldiers' own weapons and took a local policeman hostage. Climbing up the quarry hill, they made their final stand, battling more than 100 Afghan troops until all the escapees were killed.
The 12 Pakistani prisoners were among several thousand Pakistani Muslims who came to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban last year and were taken prisoner by Afghan and U.S. forces in November and December. Hundreds have since been released and returned to Pakistan, but an unstated number remain in Afghan custody. The 13th man, from Kyrgyzstan, was arrested in November.
[Amrullah Sahli] said the 13 prisoners who escaped were part of a larger group being screened for release under an amnesty program ordered by President Hamid Karzai, making it seem especially odd that they would try to escape. He would not say how many other foreign fighters were still in Afghan custody. He also said officials knew little about the dead prisoners other than their countries of origin.
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