Afghan Detainees Are in a Lose, Lose, Lose Situation


After a U.N. report showing widespread torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, NATO has decided to keep sending prisoners to these sites, The New York Times reports. NATO temporarily stopped sending people to facilities named in the report last fall. Instead, many detainees were kept in NATO custody, where there have also been allegations of abuse in the past.

Others were sent to an alternative American-run detention facility in Afghanistan known as Parwan, where detainees have also reported being mistreated. From the CBC News article in January:

Detainees interviewed during two visits to the U.S.-run portion of the Parwan detention centre outside Bagram Airbase — about 40 kilometres north of Kabul — complained of freezing cold, humiliating strip searches and being deprived of light, according to Gul Rahman Qazi, who led the investigation ordered by Karzai.

Now, after a four-month period of assessment and "retraining" for the Afghan-run detention centers implicated in the U.N. report, NATO officials think the guards, interrogators, and administrators are capable of detaining people without abusing them. Well, probably. According to The New York Times:

NATO said that it had resumed transferring detainees to 12 of the 16 detention centers, but that for four of them it was conditional, meaning that NATO could reverse that decision after further checks. Four places, including three where detainees reported routine abuse and in some cases torture, have not yet been certified for transfers. [Emphasis added]

So detainees will effectively serve as bait in a test designed to determine the Afghan centers' true commitment to humane treatment of prisoners. Presumably, if prisoners are abused at any of those four sites, they'll end up either back in NATO custody, where they may be abused, or at Parwan, where mistreatment is also possible.

Read more about the occupation of Afghanistan, detainee abuse, and after that you should probably lighten up with this Reason Weekend 2012 video.