updated 2/3/2008 4:47:59 PM ET 2008-02-03T21:47:59

Police detained three guards of an Afghan warlord early Sunday for kidnapping and beating up one of their boss's political rivals and his son, an official said.

Dozens of guards of northern Afghan strongmen Abdul Rashid Dostum abducted Akbar Bai — Dostum's political rival — and his son, in his 20s, from their house in Kabul on Saturday, said Ali Shah Paktiawal, director of criminal investigations for the Kabul police.

They beat the two hostages and took them to Dostum's house in an affluent Kabul neighborhood, Paktiawal said.

"At midnight we surrounded Dostum's house and we freed the two," Paktiawal said.

Police arrested three of Dostum's guards, and Bai and his son were taken to a hospital for treatment, Paktiawal said.

It was not clear whether Dostum was at his house when they freed the hostages, and Paktiawal did not give details of injures the two suffered.

Dostum was a leading anti-Taliban commander in northern Afghanistan and became notorious for his treatment of Taliban detainees after the militia fell from power in 2001.

He led Jumbesh-e-Milli militia, which repeatedly changed sides during the 1992-1996 Afghan civil war and became one of the key anti-Taliban groups to join the U.S.-led effort that ousted the Taliban.

Human rights groups have called for an investigation into reports that hundreds of Taliban prisoners held by Dostum's militia suffocated in metal shipping containers during the war. Several mass graves were discovered in a northern desert.

Following the Taliban's ouster, Dostum held senior positions in Afghanistan's security forces. Currently, he is chief of staff of the Afghan Army's High Command.

Despite millions spent in attempts to disband militias, many of the country's warlords have kept their small private armies.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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