U.N. report: Detainees 'systematically' tortured by Afghan authorities

Detainees at Afghan police and intelligence detention facilities have been subjected to torture including hanging by their wrists, electric shock, and twisted genitals, among other interrogation techniques, according to a United Nations report released on Monday.

The report, which was researched by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, is the result of nearly a year of interviews with more than 300 randomly selected, pretrial and convicted detainees at Afghan National Police detention centers, National Directorate of Security facilities, and Ministry of Justice prisons and juvenile rehabilitation centers.

"Nearly all detainees tortured by NDS officials reported the abuse took place during interrogations and was aimed at obtaining a confession or information," said the report, which found that 46 percent of NDS detainees interviewed had experienced interrogation techniques that consisted of torture. The report found that torture is practiced "systematically" at NDS detention facilities throughout Afghanistan.

While the report does not apportion any complicity to U.S. or Western officials, it does note that Afghan security forces are trained and funded by the international community.

The ANP's budget is mainly funded by a multilateral trust set up by the United Nations Development Programme in 2002. The trust receives contributions from the United States as well as a number of other Western nations.

The report points out that despite the systematic nature of the torture, is it not based on institutional or Afghan government policy, but is rather the result of the actions of individual security officials. Reform is, therefore, "both possible and desired," the report said, noting that government officials had already cooperated with the report's investigation and begun to take actions to address these problems.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force responded to the formal release of the report, noting that it has already taken action in suspending detainee transfers to certain facilities based on the findings.

Still, the report may put a wrench in American efforts to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan officials as U.S. troops begin a gradual drawdown from Afghanistan. The Obama administration is set to withdraw 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

ISAF, with which UNAMA shared its findings over the course of the last month, said in a statement that it is working closely with the Afghan government and the U.N. panel on efforts to "improve detention operations and establish safeguards to prevent future mistreatment."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.