[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
US report reveals Afghan abuses
US soldier and helicopter in Afghanistan
Bagram is the main US base in Afghanistan
Fresh details have emerged of abuse of prisoners by US troops in Afghanistan.

The deaths of two inmates and alleged abuse of others is detailed by the New York Times citing a 2,000-page document leaked from a US army investigation.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is to visit the US this week, condemned the allegations and called for the soldiers involved to be punished.

Officials in Washington said the abuses were being investigated and those responsible would be held to account.

The report says some prisoners were chained to ceilings, and that a female interrogator stepped on a man's neck and kicked another in the genitals.

A Pentagon spokesman said the New York Times was trying to make a new story out of old material, adding that the investigation was "very serious and very detailed".


"The standard has always been humane treatment for all detainees. When that standard is not met we will take action," the spokesman said.

Charges which relate in particular to the two deaths have been issued against seven US servicemen.

The New York Times said it received the report from a person involved in the US investigation who was critical of the interrogation methods used at the detention centre at Bagram, north of Kabul, and of the subsequent inquiry.

'Innocent taxi driver'

The key issue in the report covers the treatment of two Afghans who died in custody at Bagram in December 2002.

The detainees who died were a 22-year-old taxi driver known as Dilawar and a man called Habibullah.

Afghan prisoner and US soldier
The report was leaked by someone involved in the US inquiry
The New York Times gives a detailed account from the leaked report of their treatment.

Dilawar had been chained to his cell ceiling by his wrists for four days and his legs pummelled by guards when he was brought to be re-interrogated at 0200 hours about an attack on a US air base, it says.

After the interrogation he was returned to be chained up and died before a doctor came to see him.

The report says most interrogators believed him to be an innocent taxi driver who simply drove past at the time of the air-base attack.

One soldier told investigators that when the prisoner was beaten, "he screamed out Allah, Allah, Allah, and my first reaction was he was crying out to his God".

"It became a running joke and people kept showing up to give him a strike just to hear him scream Allah... It went on over a 24-hour period and I would think that it was over 100 strikes."

Drums of excrement

The US military initially said there was no indication of abuse in the two men's deaths and that interrogation techniques were methods that were "generally accepted".

After a later inquiry, last October, it emerged that 27 soldiers faced probable criminal charges.

Seven of these have since been charged, but no-one has yet been convicted.

The New York Times says: "The file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse. The harsh treatment... went well beyond the two deaths."

Reported abuses included a prisoner being forced to kiss the boots of interrogators and another forced to pick plastic bottle tops out of a drum mixed with excrement and water.

One sergeant told investigators that detainees were considered terrorists until proven otherwise and that the Geneva Convention only applied to prisoners of war.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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