Detainees in Afghan facilities still being tortured, U.N. says
By The Los Angeles Times
Published: Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, 9:30 p.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Suspected insurgents continue to be tortured at numerous Afghan detention facilities, the United Nations reported on Sunday.
More than half of the 635 detainees questioned by U.N. investigators in the 12 months ending in October were ill-treated or tortured, including being subjected to severe beatings or electric shocks, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.
The allegations, which the Afghan government calls “exaggerated,” are likely to complicate discussions about the handling of detainees, a source of debate between the United States and Afghanistan as the countries prepare for the departure of most foreign troops next year.
Many of the suspected fighters who end up in Afghan custody are captured by U.S. and allied troops. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led force said it has suspended the transfer of detainees to the facilities identified in the U.N. report and is working with Afghan authorities to address abuses.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has frequently maintained that the handling of detainees is a question of national sovereignty. During discussions with President Obama this month, he reiterated his demand that all Afghan prisoners be turned over to Afghan authorities.
In a written response accompanying the U.N. report, the Afghan government said it had taken steps to ensure the lawful treatment of detainees, including issuing policy directives, increasing training and monitoring, and reassigning personnel.
Though it conceded that some abuses were possible, the government said insurgents were coached to say they had been mistreated if captured.
Jan Kubis, who heads the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, acknowledged Afghan government efforts, which he said had yielded some positive results. “But the system isn't robust enough to eliminate ill-treatment of detainees,” Kubis said in a statement. “Clearly more needs to be done to end and prevent torture.”
The U.N. said allegations of torture decreased at some facilities after it issued a report in 2011 alleging widespread abuses in the Afghan detention system. The decrease corresponded with the suspension of NATO transfers to some facilities and increased monitoring, including by the NATO force, the new report said. But when foreign troops resumed transfers to those facilities and reduced monitoring, a resumption of abuses was observed.
Abuses appeared particularly prevalent at 34 facilities operated by the Afghan National Police, the border police and the National Directorate of Security, the country's intelligence agency, the study said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- First lady’s absence from trip unsettles Japan
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east
- Yemen: Airstrike targets al-Qaida training camps
- Abdullah widens lead in Afghan vote tally
- On Easter, Syria’s President Assad visits Christian town recaptured from rebels
- Radio transcript reveals South Korean ferry crew wavered on evacuation
- Pope pleads for peace, end to starvation, help for needy
- Holocaust survivors taxed, student finds in search of Amsterdam city archives
- Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
- Ex-army chief, leftist to seek Egyptian presidency
- 7.2 earthquake strikes central Mexico