[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
US probes Afghanistan abuse claim
US troops in Paktia province near the Pakistani border
Rights groups claim US detentions violate international law
The US military is checking complaints by an Afghan police officer that he was stripped naked, beaten and photographed at a US base in Afghanistan.

The alleged incidents occurred at a US base in Gardez, east of the capital Kabul, in August 2003.

The New York Times quoted the officer as saying he was subjected to sexual abuse, taunting and sleep deprivation.

The investigation follows revelations about American soldiers' treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

Former police colonel, Sayed Nabi Siddiqui, 47, told the New York Times he was wrongly detained on 15 July after reporting police corruption.

He said he was detained in three prisons over 40 days after someone accused him of being a member of the Taleban.

Mr Siddiqui said he was abused at all the bases, but the worst case was at Gardez.

'Challenges and problems'

In a press statement, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he was not aware of the existence of any photos of the alleged Gardez incident.

Lt Gen David Barno
Barno rejected appeals for greater access to Afghan prisoners
"To the best of our knowledge this is the first time anyone in the military chain of command or the United States Embassy has heard of this alleged mistreatment," he said.

On Tuesday, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, Lt Gen David Barno, rejected an Afghan human rights group's demand to carry out checks on detainees in US custody in the country.

General Barno said the army had investigated "challenges and problems" at some bases and had decided to switch prisoners to the main US facility at Bagram, north of Kabul.

At least 300 people, the majority of them Afghans, are believed to be held at Bagram and an unknown number at other sites.

In March, a Human Rights Watch report said the US detention system in Afghanistan violated international law.

On the runway at Bagram
Prisoners are being switched to the Bagram air base

Two Afghans died at Bagram in December 2002, with autopsies suggesting injuries from blunt implements.

The US military said it had had difficulty gathering evidence and has yet to publish a report.

Another Afghan died in June last year at a detention centre in Kunar province, in the east.

Concerns about US treatment of detainees in Afghanistan are not new but the images of prisoner treatment in Iraq have highlighted them again.

Some newspapers have demanded investigations into whether US forces have been behaving in a similar way in Afghanistan.

The US only allows the International Committee of the Red Cross access to bases such as Bagram and the Red Cross reports are confidential.

Ahmad Zia Langari, of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, says this lack of access leads people to think Iraq-style abuses are happening in Afghanistan.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andrew North
"There is no way of knowing exactly how the Americans are treating detainees"



SEE ALSO:
Afghan concern over Iraq abuses
10 May 04  |  South Asia
Iraq abuse allegations multiply
10 May 04  |  Middle East
In pictures: Iraqi prisoner abuse
10 May 04  |  In Pictures
Red Cross details abuse claims
10 May 04  |  Americas
Iraqi inmate: 'Treated like dogs'
06 May 04  |  Americas
Bush asks for $25bn for war costs
05 May 04  |  Americas
Many abuse inquiries under way
06 May 04  |  Middle East


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific