07 August 2006

Johnny Micheal Spann story

Rioting prisoners captured by opposition fighters killed Spann at a compound in Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan. Officials recovered his body from the prison after Afghan Northern Alliance troops backed by U.S. air strikes and special forces quashed an uprising by Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners.

Johnny "Mike" Spann was attacked by a mob of Islamist prisoners and beaten to death, his body full of bites as though animals had been tearing at his flesh.

Johnny Micheal Spann, 32, one of the CIA agents who had been active in Afghanistan since the war's beginning, the other identified by colleagues only as "Dave"--were taken to an open area outside the cells and a group of prisoners brought to meet them. According to members of a German television crew who were later trapped in the fort with Dave, Spann asked the prisoners who they were and why they joined the Taliban. They massed around him. "Why are you here?" Spann asked one. "To kill you," came the reply as the man lunged at Spann's neck. Spann drew his pistol and shot the man dead. Dave shot another, then grabbed an AK-47 from an Alliance guard and opened fire. According to eyewitness accounts given to the German team, the Taliban fighters launched themselves at Spann, scrabbling at his flesh with their hands, kicking and beating him. Spann killed two more with his pistol before he disappeared under the crush. An Alabaman with a wife and three children, Spann became the first American to die in combat in Afghanistan.

Spann was then "kicked, beaten and bitten to death" the journalists said, in an account of the ferocity of the violence that lasted four days, leaving more than 500 people dead and the fort littered with "bodies, shrapnel and shell casings".

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