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US 'urges Afghan prison overhaul'
Report calls for separation of fighters and other detainees, newspaper says.
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2009 12:45 GMT

The review presses for training new Afghan prison guards, prosecutors and judges [EPA]

A US military review has called for an overhaul of the US-run Bagram prison in Afghanistan amid concerns that abuses are helping to strengthen the Taliban, the New York Times has reported.

Quoting unnamed officials, the newspaper said on Sunday that Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, had written to military service chiefs asking them to intensify their efforts to alert troops to the importance of treating detainees properly.

The New York Times article also said that US officials were concerned that fighters were being recruited by the Taliban inside Afghan prisons.

Marine Major-General Douglas Stone, credited with revamping US detention practices in Iraq, was assigned to review all detention issues in Afghanistan, according to the report.

Stone's report, which has not been made public, recommends separating 
fighters from more moderate detainees, the newspaper said.

It also stated that the US is to help build and finance a new Afghan-run prison for suspected Taliban fighters currently held in the Afghan corrections system.

The remaining inmates would be taught vocational skills and moderate interpretation of Islam with the aim of reintegrating them into society.

The review also calls for the training of new Afghan prison guards, prosecutors and judges, the paper said.

Civilian deaths

The news of the US military review comes against a backdrop of rising civilian and military death toll.

In the latest attack, at least 11 civilians were killed and two others wounded when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in southwestern Afghanistan, a local government official said on Monday.

Elsewhere, in the country's south, a tornado fighter jet crashed inside Nato's largest base during take-off, injuring the two-member crew.

The crew ejected and were being treated at the Kandahar airfield base hospital, a military spokesman said. 

A Russian-owned civilian Mi-8 helicopter crashed at the same base on Sunday, killing 16 people on board.

Source:
Agencies
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