Monday, October 28, 2013

US detention

Monday, October 28, 2013

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Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Letters To The Editor

US detention centres in Afghanistan

Ted Rudow III, MA, Encina Ave, Palo Alto, CA

With less than a year left in his final term, president Hamid Karzai insists that he is eager to leave the presidential palace and lead a quieter life. It turns out, though, he may just be moving next door; to a lavish new home yard from the complex that has been the seat of his power for more than a decade.

Now the U.S. is between a rock and a hard place. Let the Afghan drug lords and warlords, who are now provincial governors and even cabinet officials, keep dealing in drugs and getting away with all sorts of criminal activities — kidnapping, rape, and murder. So the U.S. hasn’t exactly been a virtuous liberator, because while it proclaims how it has installed a new, more democratic government in Afghanistan, what it has actually done is set the drug lords and warlords free to operate again, who control most of the country outside Kabul, the capital. The U.S. has also taken advantage of Afghanistan’s lawlessness to convert its bases there into what one human rights advocate called “an enormous U.S. jail.” They have several large jails and detention facilities there, and smaller ones at more than 20 compounds around the country, where they hold more than 1,500 prisoners — Afghans and other nationalities. Nobody is really sure how many there are, because the U.S. military won’t say. The U.S. uses the fact that they can do whatever they want in Afghanistan to build all sorts of secret prisons there, because they have so many secret prisoners now, what the U.S. military calls “ghost detainees.”

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