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Afghans concerned over poet's arrest by US

Residents of Kandahar have accused US military of seizing a young poet from a mosque and holding him without charge.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 17:13 IST

Residents of Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar have accused the US military of seizing a popular young poet from a mosque and holding him without charge.

Dozens of US soldiers stormed the mosque on January 10, during the Eid, and showed every worshipper to several masked men who were accompanying them, two witnesses told the agency on Monday.

They then rounded up five men, including poet and high school student Sayed Ahmad Qaneh and four of his relatives, the witnesses said.

"We're concerned about their fate. They were just taken away and no one talks about them," said another witness, Mohammad Yar, from a cultural group in the city.

Khan and Yar said they were unaware of the reason behind the detention, adding that the young man had no links to Taliban militants who are the focus of a US-led military operation.

"As far as I knew, he was a very good person -- he had no links to the Taliban or other groups," Khan said.

The incident was widely reported in local media. The US military in Kabul said it had no information about the detention of Qaneh, who runs a small bookshop in Kandahar, once the stronghold of the ousted Taliban. Afghan government officials said they were unaware of why the poet might have been detained.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 14:57 IST