Kabul: A report released on Saturday by two rights groups says the US sent some detainees to Afghan prisons where torture was found despite an announced moratorium on such moves.
The report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the New York-based Open Society Institute suggests that Afghanistan`s international allies are still failing to ensure that people captured on the battlefield are treated humanely despite a massive reform program in recent months.
NATO forces regularly hand Afghans that they have captured over to Afghan authorities after they have decided that the detainees are no longer an immediate threat. But the coalition stopped such transfers to 16 Afghan detention facilities shortly before a UN report was issued in September that found evidence of torture at those prisons.
The report documents 11 "recent, credible cases" in which detainees said they were captured by US personnel, then transferred to an Afghan facility in Kandahar where UN investigators had found evidence of torture.
The transfers happened after July, when NATO and US forces stopped sending detainees to the facility because of torture concerns, the report said.
US military officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but are cited in the report as saying that there are no NATO or US military forces transferring detainees to the facility, which is operated by the National Directorate of Security, or NDS — the Afghan intelligence service.
"There is compelling evidence that at least some US forces or personnel continue to transfer individuals to NDS Kandahar despite not only a widely acknowledged risk of torture but also evidence that detainees transferred to NDS Kandahar by US forces have been subjected to torture," according to the report.
Interviews with detainees and US responses to queries suggest that "there may be US forces or personnel, perhaps including CIA or other US intelligence officials," operating outside of these commands and who have detained people and sent them to the supposedly banned facilities, the report said.
A US embassy spokesman said that American officials had not yet received a copy of the report.
"We have not seen the report, and so can`t comment," spokesman Gavin Sundwall said.
The report — which also details abuse at nine Afghan intelligence service facilities and "several" prisons operated by the Afghan police — was based on interviews with more than 100 detainees between February 2011 and January 2012, along with interviews with lawyers, legal aid workers, detention facility officials and government representatives, the authors said.
The UN report issued in September found evidence of torture at 16 Afghan detention facilities.
Since then, NATO has started an intensive program of inspections and trainings at the flagged prisons, and has resumed prisoner transfers to 12 of the facilities that it says have instituted reforms. The Kandahar facility is one of the four that have not been approved to resume transfers.
NATO officials have said that Afghan authorities at first rejected any accusations of abuse but have since worked with NATO on the reforms.
Saturday`s report, called "Torture, Transfers, and Denial of Due Process," names a number of facilities that were not flagged in the United Nations report. But the facility that receives the most criticism is the NDS Kandahar facility, where the report says there has also been recent evidence of beatings and being shocked with electric cables.
"Monitors received 10 credible allegations of abuse in NDS Kandahar as recently as January 2012," the report said.