Heinous Crimes in Afghan Prisons Landmark Unprecedented Hysteria

Kaitlyn Nolan

For the past month, reports and incriminating allegations have been spread indicating that systematic torture and serious human rights violations have been a pandemic in Afghanistan prisons for quite some time now.  Not only are these allegations against the Afghan prisons, they are also against the U.S. military.

Reports are saying that General Abdul Raziq, the acting police chief of Kandahar Province is a key U.S. ally, and he was recently found to be carrying out extrajudicial killings and torture. Assumptions have been made about international military knowingly handing over detainees to the Afghan government where suffer poor conditions or even abuse rising to the level of torture. The detainees were said to have been beaten for a confession or revealing detrimental information.

The prisoners were beaten with rubber hoses, iron bars, and other objects, all while suspended from the ceiling, hung by their wrists by chains or other devices attached to the wall.  These beatings would last for extremely lengthy periods, and the most common beating was to have wooden sticks beat against the soles of their feet. Some detainees experienced electric shock, the twisting and wrenching of their genitals, forced standing or kneeling, and the removal of toenails, if not among others. They were also sexually abused.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported on most of these beatings, and they have documented the denial of medical care in some of the detention facilities. One known death was also documented, which was a result of the beatings while in the custody of the Afghani government. 379 pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners reported the beatings at various Afghan government facilities, dating between October 2010 and August 2011.

The response to these allegations was, “Despite their cruel and barbaric acts,” terrorists are being treated “humanely and in accordance with the law,” the Afghan government stated. “Beginning from their arrest and investigation to the final verdict of the court, they are treated in accordance with the Islamic and humanitarian norms.” The UNAMA claims that 125 detainees who were interviewed that had been in the NDS (National Directorate of Security) detention had experienced the interrogation techniques earlier described.

Some torture was also conducted on children under the age of eighteen.  It noted in their rebuttal that the children were not holding I.D. cards and that the government couldn’t tell they were underage but, as soon as they gained knowledge of a minor in their presence, they were immediately transferred to a Juvenile prosecution office.

Suspicion that our very own military government was knowledgeable about what was happening in these prisons has Americans flabbergasted and in an uproar. The question is what was taking our military so long to intervene?  The debate now becomes a moral one; should Americans turn the blind eye to the immoral injustices or should we react? Another question is, are we supporting the right people? The American military has backed up Abdul Raziq all while he was slaughtering people. Are we now a demoralized country? It seems astonishing that the torture and abuse can go on for so many years and no one speaks up. Now, the question leaves us to ponder, what legacy do we want to leave the Afghani people?