Sunday, May 22, 2005

Afghanistan wrangling

Harmid Karzai is coming to Washington DC to visit. It seems there's a major disagreement brewing.

Just prior a news report was leaked through Newsweek of desecration of the Koran by U.S. Soldiers at Guantanamo who are guarding the prisoners captured in Afghanistan. (Hmm... it's now 2005, these prisoners were captured in 2001, transferred to Cuba in 2002, so just how long are they going to be kept without trial?) The news has sparked rioting all through the Islamic world, most especially in Afghanistan.

Karzai is hopping mad: Karzai shock at US Afghan 'abuse' (Saturday, 21 May, 2005, BBC.CO.UK)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded action from the US after new details emerged of alleged abuse of prisoners by US troops in Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai said he was shocked and would raise the issue with President George W Bush when he meets him next week.

This isn't just about the Koran desecration, but also abuse of prisoners at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. Unlike the previous prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, this time the senior officials are being implicated. At Abu Ghraib the senior officials were likely involved, but somehow escaped from being accused.

Report implicates top brass in Bagram scandal
(Julian Borger in Washington, Saturday May 21, 2005, The Guardian )

A leaked report on a military investigation into two killings of detainees at a US prison in Afghanistan has produced new evidence of connivance of senior officers in systematic prisoner abuse.

The investigation shows the military intelligence officers in charge of the detention centre at Bagram airport were redeployed to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003, while still under investigation for the deaths of two detainees months earlier. Despite military prosecutors' recommendations, the officers involved have yet to be charged.

Afghan prisoners were 'tortured to death' by American guards
(By Justin Huggler, Asia Correspondent, 21 May 2005, The Independant of London)

A 2,000-page report on an internal investigation by the US military leaked to The New York Times and published yesterday provides exhaustive detail on how the two were kept chained in excruciating positions and kicked to death.

The harrowing stories of the deaths of Habibullah and Dilawar told in the report could prove as damaging to the US as the photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

The report reveals that Dilawar, a taxi driver, died despite the fact that most of the interrogators were convinced he was innocent.

US abuse of Afghan prisoners 'widespread' (Sarah Left and agencies, Friday May 20, 2005 )

US soldiers carried out widespread abuse of detainees at the US-run Bagram prison camp in Afghanistan, according to a confidential US army report revealed today in the New York Times.

Seven soldiers have been charged in connection with abuse at Bagram, where the paper reports that harsh treatment by some interrogators was routine, prisoners were shackled in painful fixed positions, and guards could strike shackled detainees with virtual impunity.

The army document highlights the deaths in detention of Dilawar, a 22-year-old taxi driver who most interrogators had believed to be innocent, and another inmate, Habibullah. The two men died within six days of each other in December 2002.

Interesting the U.S. government is throwing some accusations at Karzai. Apparently he hasn't been showing enough "leadership" at Opium eradication. War on Drugs, meet War on Terror, Terror, meet Drugs.

Report: Karzai faulted over Afghan heroin Ties tested ahead of Afghan leader’s visit to Washington (MSNBC News Services, Updated: 5:34 a.m. ET May 22, 2005)

U.S. officials said in a memo to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this month that a poppy eradication program aimed at Afghanistan’s heroin trade was ineffective partly because of President Hamid Karzai’s leadership, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.

The May 13 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to Rice, shown to the Times by an official said to be alarmed at the slow pace of poppy eradication, said provincial officials and village elders impeded destruction of poppy acreage. It also said top Afghan officials, including Karzai, had done little to counter that.

... “Karzai has been well aware of the difficulty in trying to implement an effective ground eradication program, (but) he has been unwilling to assert strong leadership, even in his own province of Kandahar,

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