Karzai Govt Confirms Widespread Torture in Afghan Prisons

Roughly Half of Detainees Report Mistreatment in Custody

Afghan officials today admitted to “widespread torture” of detainees in government custody, following up on their initial denials to a UN report accusing the government of essentially the same thing.

The new Afghan report focused on Kabul, interviewing 635 prisoners, over half of whom confirmed that they had been abused, threatened with rape or execution, and tortured in various other manners.

Despite such a shockingly high level of mistreatment, the director of the panel that launched the inquiry said there was no evidence of “systematic torture,” and that they were apparently hundreds of unrelated, isolated incidents. Just not too isolated.

The revelation is going to make it all the more difficult for NATO forces to hand over detainees to the Karzai government, since the Convention Against Torture formally bans transfers to nations where there is a substantial risk of torture.

Officials praised the report as significant, but the lack of conclusions or recommendations on how to get the torture level down to a less ridiculous level suggests that there is no intention to do much about it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.