News Release

Karzai in Washington, Torture in Afghanistan

While President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan visits Washington, the following analysts are available for interviews:

SONALI KOLHATKAR
Kolhatkar, based in Los Angeles, is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission and has recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan.
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REED BRODY
Currently in Los Angeles, Brody is special counsel with Human Rights Watch, which recently released the report “Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees.” Brody said today: “Around the world today, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to secret locations, the U.S. government is brutalizing Muslim prisoners in the name of the ‘war on terror.'”
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JOHN SIFTON
Sifton is the Human Rights Watch country specialist for Afghanistan. In a statement released today by HRW, Sifton raised concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch also called on the United States to appoint an independent counsel to investigate abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at Guantanamo Bay. Sifton said today: “This month has been particularly unstable in a number of respects in Afghanistan. It’s a combination of Taliban attacks, corruption, criminal activity and crucially warlordism, often with a close relationship to local authorities. The administration cites Afghanistan as a success. It’s not Iraq, but it is hard to view it as a meaningful success. … Prison abuse by U.S. personnel didn’t begin at Abu Ghraib. As early as 2002, U.S. forces were responsible for torturing and killing prisoners in Afghanistan. We have to find out how it started — were orders given? And we have to find out how it was allowed to continue. U.S. commanders who are responsible for allowing this to continue must be prosecuted.”
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Last week, the New York Times published the article “In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates’ Deaths” about the case of two Afghan detainees in Bagram, Afghanistan, who were tortured to death by U.S. soldiers. The account was based on the Army’s own criminal investigation, which has still not been made public.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167