The abusive environment described by the report could also imperil U.S. aid to Afghan security forces under U.S. laws that prohibit the funding and support of a country’s security forces if those forces commit gross human rights violations.
One prisoner, identified as Detainee 371 in the report, said he endured brutal treatment at the intelligence agency’s detention center in Kandahar. “You should confess what you have done in the past as Taliban; even stones confess here,” an interrogator told him, he recalled in the report. After resisting confession for two days, “he tied my hands on my back and start beating me with an electric wire. He also used his hands to beat me.” Another official told the prisoner: “Confess or be ready to die. I will kill you.”
The report raises particular concerns about detention centers run by the Afghan intelligence agency, which held between 1,500 and 2,000 detainees during the period when the investigation took place. It said that nearly half of the detainees held by the intelligence agency had been tortured and that “torture is practiced systematically’’ in “a number’’ of the agency’s detention centers.
More than a third of the 117 conflict-related detainees interviewed who were held by the Afghan National Police also suffered treatment amounting to torture or other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, the report says.
A coalition spokesman in Kabul said he did not know how many Afghan detainees have been kept in NATO custody in recent weeks who would otherwise have been transferred to Afghan detention centers. The Bagram facility holds more than 2,500 prisoners, a total that has tripled over the past three years.
U.S. officials intend to expand the prison’s capacity from 3,500 to 5,500 beds to accommodate the growing number of detainees, and the decision to halt transfers to Afghan detention centers could put more pressure on Bagram.
In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said it has worked in recent weeks to help the Afghan government develop a six-phase plan to reform the detention system in response to the U.N. findings. The coalition began its own inspections at six detention centers and has “begun remediation training at one facility,” according to a military statement.
The coalition “remains committed to eliminating human rights violations in detainee operations,’’ the military statement said.
Salahuddin is a special correspondent. Staff writer Craig Whitlock in Washington contributed to this report.