Afghan leader demands US answers on torture

Ghani condemns CIA interrogation methods used against al-Qaeda suspects but rules out future detentions in his country.

    A 'black site' mentioned in the report was a facility located outside Afghanistan's Bagram airbase [AFP]
    A 'black site' mentioned in the report was a facility located outside Afghanistan's Bagram airbase [AFP]

    Afghanistan's president has condemned CIA torture detailed in a US Senate report, demanding information from the US on Afghan detainees.

    Ashraf Ghani's comment came on Wednesday, a day after the release of the document that unravelled the CIA's methods used during interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects.

    "The Afghan government condemns these inhumane actions in the strongest terms," Ghani said.

    "There can be no justification for these kinds of actions and inhumane torture in today's world."

    Ghani, who took office in September amid hopes of better bilateral relations with the US than those enjoyed by his predecessor Hamid Karzai, said: "This is a vicious cycle. When a person is tortured in an inhumane way, the reaction will be inhumane. And thus a vicious cycle of action and reaction is created."

    One of the "black sites" mentioned in the report, where practices such as "rectal feeding" and suspending inmates by the wrists, was a facility known as the Salt Pit, located outside Afghanistan's Bagram airbase.

    Prison facilities at Bagram were mainly handed over to Afghan control in 2012, though the US is still in charge of foreign detainees.

    "Unfortunately this report shows that our Afghan countrymen have been subjected to torture and their rights violated," Ghani said.

    "We want the number of these Afghans to be known, we want their names to be released so we take action for their rights and to defend their human dignity in a serious and fundamental way."

    Ghani stressed that detentions by US forces would now be a thing of the past.

    "Based on the Bilateral Security Pact between Afghanistan and the United States, after the end of this year, meaning in 21 days, nobody can take prisoners or establish prisons in Afghanistan," he said.

    Sarah Bilal, a lawyer representing the families of Pakistani detainees at Bagram, said the report was "unsurprising".

    "It is not surprising to us that they have tortured, we have known this for years with the detainees coming out from Bagram," she said.

    "I am hoping that because of this report at least that there is going to be prosecution and people are going to be held accountable. Otherwise it won't mean anything."

    SOURCE: AFP


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