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US-run secret prisons in Afghanistan exposed

Crescent International

The US and its British allies are running secret prisons in Afghanistan away from any oversight or control of the Afghan government. The US-run torture chamber at Bagram was taken over by Afghan forces earlier this year releasing many people that were never charged with any crime. Two secret prisons have been discovered at Qandar and in Helmand province; the latter being run by the British. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is very upset.


Sunday April 27, 2014, 12:19 DST

The US and its allies are running secret prisons in Afghanistan according to a fact-finding committee established by the Afghan government. The secret prisons are in Southern Afghanistan.

“We have conducted a thorough investigation and search of Qandahar Airfield and Camp Bastion and found several illegal and unlawful detention facilities run and operated by foreign military forces,” said Abdul Shakur Dadras, the head of the committee.

The committee members, according to Dadras, were sent to Qandahar and Helmand provinces. One jail located at Qandahar Airfield is run by US forces while Camp Bastion in Helmand province is by British forces.

Hamid Karzai, who is about to relinquish his post as president appointed the commission after reports that detainees were being abused by foreign forces. Earlier this year, Afghan government freed dozens of detainees held in the US-run Bagram prison over US objections.

Human rights groups had reported that the Bagram detainees were being routinely abused and kept in solitary confinement in tiny windowless cells. The Afghan government did not even know how many prisoners were held at Bagram.

In November 2012, Karzai ordered Afghan forces to take control of Bagram prison and accused US officials of failing to fully comply with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Detentions signed between the two countries.

The US tried to exert pressure on Karzai not to release the detainees but he rejected the call.

When news about the secret prisons in Qandahar and Helmand broke into the open, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that it was aware of “their [Afghan] investigative team looking into the detention facilities in Qandahar and Helmand and we are cooperating fully with the investigation on this matter.”

In what manner was the ISAF cooperating was not explained.

The secret prisons’ issue is the latest dispute over the detention of Afghans by US-led foreign forces. Karzai has had a running dispute with the US over many issues.

He has refused to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that would allow the US to keep forces in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline. Why the Americans are so desperate to maintain 10,000 troops beyond the US’ own stipulated deadline, has not been explained except the lame excuse that it wants to continue to train Afghan forces.

Whether the Afghan government wants such training is not considered relevant.

Following the first round of presidential elections in Afghanistan on April 5, the two front-runners, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani that will square off in a run-up election on May 28, have said they will sign the BSA if elected.

The US is extremely keen on this and has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Abdullah’s presidential campaign to ensure his victory. Of all the candidates, he is considered the most pro-US.


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