Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Afghan abuse allegation probed

Afghan abuse allegation probed
By Andrew Ward in Washington
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
Published: June 25 2007 23:00 | Last updated: June 25 2007 23:00

An investigation is under way into alleged abuses by US and Afghan soldiers during a search for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF) is probing a report that coalition soldiers tied a suspect to a vehicle by rope and threatened to drag him away unless he provided information.

One US soldier has been suspended over the case, which allegedly occurred in the village of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul.

Focus, the German magazine whose correspondent witnessed the alleged incident, reported that a US soldier revved the vehicle while an Afghan platoon leader attached a rope to the suspect’s foot. After about two minutes the engine was turned off and the suspect was released, according to the report.

“The alleged behaviour goes against everything the US military stands for and believes in,” said Colonel Martin Schweitzer, a commander of coalition troops in the region where the incident occurred.

The investigation comes as US policy on interrogation techniques in the war on terror faces fresh scrutiny in Washington.

Reports in the Washington Post this week on Vice-President Dick Cheney’s role in the administration have shed new light on how policy on interrogation and detention of prisoners was crafted after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001.

The reports detailed how Mr Cheney was the driving force behind the US decision to deny captured al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects the rights granted to prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention and put them out of reach of the US legal system.

Other senior administration officials at the time, including Colin Powell, secretary of state, and Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, were not consulted about some key decisions and at other times had objections brushed aside, according to the reports.


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