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Afghanistan's Ghani condemns CIA's 'inhumane actions'

11 december 2014, 10:01
0
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. ©AFP
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. ©AFP

 Afghanistan's new President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday condemned CIA torture detailed in a US Senate report, saying the United States' actions violated "all accepted norms of human rights" and were part of a vicious cycle of violence, AFP reports.

Ghani's speech came as his government attempts to revive a moribund talks process with the Taliban, whose 13-year insurgency has gained significant momentum with the phased withdrawal of US-led NATO combat troops in the country.

"The Afghan government condemns these inhumane actions in the strongest terms," he said at a specially-convened press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul.

"There can be no justification for these kinds of actions and inhumane torture in today's world."

The US Senate said in a report that CIA torture of Al-Qaeda suspects was far more brutal than acknowledged and failed to produce useful intelligence.

Ghani, who took office in September amid hopes of better bilateral relations with the US than those enjoyed by his predecessor Hamid Karzai, said: "The reason I want to talk to my countrymen tonight is to explain our position on that report released by the US Senate.

"This report is 499 pages long and since downloading it from the Internet last night I have read every single word of it.

"This is a vicious cycle. When a person is tortured in an inhumane way, the reaction will be inhumane. And thus a vicious cycle of action and reaction is created."

One of the "black sites" mentioned in the report, where practices such as "rectal feeding" and suspending inmates by the wrists, was a facility known as the "Salt Pit", located outside Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base.

Prison facilities at Bagram were mainly handed over to Afghan control in 2012, though the United States is still in charge of foreign detainees.

One Pakistani inmate who was interviewed by AFP in April said he suffered beatings, sleep deprivation and a sustained campaign of mental disintegration over nine years -- despite committing no crime.

An official record of his detention that was later made unclassified shows his captors suspected the same.

"Unfortunately this report shows that our Afghan countrymen have been subjected to torture and their rights violated," Ghani said.

"We want the number of these Afghans to be known, we want their names to be released so we take action for their rights and to defend their human dignity in a serious and fundamental way."

   Activists demand action 

 A residual force of around 12,500 foreign troops is set to remain in Afghanistan beyond the end of the year, but its mission will be to train local forces and assist in counter-terrorism.

Ghani stressed that detentions by US forces would now be a thing of the past.

"Based on the Bilateral Security Pact between Afghanistan and the United States, after the end of this year, meaning in 21 days, nobody can take prisoners or establish prisons in Afghanistan," he said.

Sarah Bilal, a lawyer representing the families of Pakistani detainees at Bagram, said the report was "unsurprising".

"It is not surprising to us that they have tortured, we have known this for years with the detainees coming out from Bagram.

"I am hoping that because of this report at least that there is going to be prosecution and people are going to be held accountable. Otherwise it won't mean anything," she added.


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