Jump to page content

Afghanistan: US transferred prisoners despite early warning of torture

last updated Nov 08, 2011

New evidence has come to light which shows that US officials were informed of torture and abuse in several detention centres run by the Afghan intelligence agency NDS a considerable time before a UN report accused Afghanistan of systematic torture. The US reportedly did not stop transferring detainees to these facilities despite the early warnings. In particular, a facility for terrorism suspects known as Department 124 was allegedly a place where detainees had been subjected to especially cruel methods of torture.

Gen Petraeus denies the US ignored early warnings of torture
Gen Petraeus denies the US ignored early warnings of torture; Source: hectorir (Flickr)

Despite multiple warnings to the State Department, the CIA and the military and regular visits to the detention facilities by US officials, the transfer of detainees was only stopped in August 2011 after the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) informed Gen. John Allen of the widespread abuse. The respective report by the UNAMA was released in October 2011.

According to the human rights organisation Human Rights First, the US knew or should have known about torture in these facilities since it is the principle funder, trainer and beneficiary of intelligence from Afghan security forces. Several US officials, including former US commander in Afghanistan Gen. David H. Petraeus, have denied that they ignored the warnings.

UNAMA report: Mistreatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghan facilities

Washington Post: U.S. had advance warning of abuse at Afghan prisons, officials say

Human Rights First: Reports Say U.S. Continued Detainee Transfers to Known Torturers

UPI: U.S. denies it knew of Afghan prison abuse

AoT: Afghanistan: Detainees systematically tortured

Afghanistan country profile