US soldier in custody after Taliban leader killed

The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the death of an alleged Taliban district leader, who had been detained during an military operation near Kandahar City in southern Afghanistan.

"A U.S. soldier is in custody following the death of a Taliban insurgent found dead in his holding cell Sunday in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province," a news release from the United States Forces in Afghanistan, stated Tuesday.

Arghandab district was highlighted in a GlobalPost report last week after members of the media who had arrived to cover military operations as part of the much heralded Kandahar campaign had their embeds canceled at the last minut.

A photojournalist from Agence France Press who was supposed to begin an embed at Arghandab's District Center on Monday was ordered back onto a helicopter upon arrival.

"No reporters," the AFP journalist says he was told by an unidentified U.S. soldier as he was getting off a helicopter.

The U.S. military's press release said the detainee died after being shot inside an Afghan government facility on Sunday. He had been captured Saturday and was at an Afghan jail under U.S. supervision awaiting transfer and formal charges.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office issued a statement this evening that named the alleged Taliban leader as Mullah Muhibullah.

“On Sunday 17th of October 2010 at around 9:30 p.m. NATO forces entered a prison in Arghandab district of Kandahar Province and killed a detainee by the name of Mullah Muhibullah," the statement from Karzai's office said.

The U.S. military says the incident is under investigation.

“The U.S. takes very seriously any mistreatment of detainees,” said Rear Adm. Greg Smith, U.S. Forces Afghanistan's director of communication. “Our forces are trained to uphold the rights of persons in custody and any violation of those rights are fully investigated.”

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