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UNAMA Human Rights Director, Georgette Gagnon (left), and Special Representative Nicholas Haysom. Photo: Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi

UNAMA Human Rights Director, Georgette Gagnon (left), and Special Representative Nicholas Haysom. Photo: (Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi)

UN Reveals 'Credible and Reliable' Evidence of US Military Torture in Afghanistan

New report finds U.S.-backed Afghan government still committing widespread torture

Sarah Lazare

The United Nations revealed Wednesday it has "credible and reliable" evidence that people recently detained at U.S. military prisons in Afghanistan have faced torture and abuse.

The UN's Assistance Mission and High Commissioner for Human Rights exposed the findings in a report based on interviews with 790 "conflict-related detainees" between February 2013 and December 2014.

According to the investigation, two detainees "provided sufficiently credible and reliable accounts of torture in a U.S. facility in Maydan Wardak in September 2013 and a U.S. Special Forces facility at Baghlan in April 2013."

The report states that the allegations of torture were investigated by "relevant authorities" but provided no information about the outcome of the alleged probes or the nature of the mistreatment.

This is not the first public disclosure of evidence of torture during the U.S. war in Afghanistan, now into its 14th year. The U.S. military's Bagram Prison, which was shuttered late last year, was notorious for torture, including beatings, sexual assault, and sleep deprivation, and further atrocities were confirmed in the Senate report (pdf) on CIA torture, released late last year in a partially-redacted form. Afghan residents have repeatedly spoken out against torture and abuse by U.S., international, and Afghan forces.

The Senate report on CIA torture, released late last year in a partially-redacted form, exposes U.S. torture at black sites in Afghanistan and around the world.

Moreover, residents of Afghanistan have testified to—and protested—torture by U.S., international, and Afghan forces.

Beyond U.S.-run facilities, the UN report finds that torture and abuse have slightly declined over recent years but remain "persistent" throughout detention centers run by the U.S.-backed Afghan government, including police, military, and intelligence officials. Of people detained for conflict-related reasons, 35 percent of them faced torture and abuse at the hands of their Afghan government captors, the report states.

According to the report, prevalent torture methods used by Afghan forces include, "prolonged and severe beating with cables, pipes, hoses or wooden sticks (including on the soles of the feet), punching, hitting and kicking all over the body including jumping on the detainee’s body, twisting of genitals including with a wrench-like device, and threats of execution and/or sexual assault."


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