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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
UN joins row over US Afghan abuse
US soldier in Afghanistan
The report was leaked by someone involved in the US inquiry
The United Nations has renewed its calls for the US to open up its controversial Bagram air base to Afghan human rights investigators.

The call follows the leaking of a US army report detailing abuses including the torture and killing of two Afghans.

The UN's special representative in Afghanistan said such abuses were "utterly unacceptable".

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was shocked by the report. The US says those responsible will be dealt with.

'Cornerstone'

The UN's special representative in Afghanistan, Jean Arnault, joined in the dispute over the Bagram air base and detention centre in a strongly worded statement issued in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Sunday.

KARZAI-BUSH TENSION
Presidents Karzai and Bush

"The gravity of these abuses calls for the punishment of all those involved in such inexcusable crimes, as demanded by President Karzai," he said.

"The presence of international forces remains one of the cornerstones of Afghanistan's security and reconstruction," the statement said.

"It is of the utmost importance that it should also serve to protect the exercise of the Afghan's fundamental human rights."

And UN spokesman Richard Provencher told journalists that Afghanistan's independent human rights commission should be allowed access to the Bagram base, north of the Afghan capital Kabul.

The US military has not yet responded to the UN's demands.

Mr Karzai - who is due to meet President George W Bush on Monday - said on Saturday he would request the handover of all Afghan detainees in the US custody and also control over US military operations in Afghanistan.

'Chained to ceiling'

New details of abuses at the Bagram airbase, including the torture of Afghan detainees there, were published on Friday by the New York Times.

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The newspaper quoted extensively from a 2,000-page document leaked from a US army investigation into the Bagram abuses.

Seven US servicemen have already been charged in relation to two deaths at Bagram in 2002.

The new allegations relate in part to the level of abuse the two prisoners are said to have been subjected to.

One of the prisoners, Dilawar, 22, was said to have been chained to a ceiling by his wrists for four days, and then beaten on his legs more than 100 times during a 24-hour period.

US soldier and helicopter in Afghanistan
Bagram is the main US base in Afghanistan

The army investigation says most investigators believed him to be innocent.

On Sunday the New York Times published more details of the army report, including how the intitial investigating team - which failed to find any soldiers responsible for the two men's deaths - were replaced because of "shortfalls" in its work.

President Karzai's four-day trip to the US comes after recent violent anti-US protests in Afghanistan following allegations in Newsweek magazine - now retracted - that US guards at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had desecrated the Koran.

The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says the Afghan leader is taking a much more forceful stand than he has in the past towards the US, a country he still regards as indispensable to Afghanistan.

Our correspondent says his comments are a reflection of concern in Kabul at the impact on Afghan public opinion of the many different allegations of US abuses.




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Details of the allegations in Afghanistan



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