A new United Nations investigation has found that Taliban suspects have been subjected to "systematic" torture in prisons run by Afghanistan's intelligence service and police. The report, released Monday, says nearly half of 324 detainees in the study reported abuse — ranging from being beaten with cables to having their genitals twisted until they lost consciousness. Afghan prisons depend on American money and trainers. Is this something the U.S. should have spotted and stopped?
The U.S. has some explaining to do: The U.N. report "paints a devastating picture of abuse," says Alissa J. Rubin in The New York Times, although it doesn't say that the U.S. knew about the abuse. Still, "such widespread use of torture in a detention system supported by American mentors and money raises serious questions" about whether American officials were complicit or "benefited from information obtained from suspects who had been tortured."
"U.N. finds 'systematic' torture in Afghanistan"
Obama's policies haven't helped matters: "As soon as he came into power, Obama promised no CIA official would be investigated or prosecuted for torture," says Jonathan Turley at his blog. So really, how does the U.S. expect to "seriously object to the lack of investigation or prosecution of torture" in Afghanistan? It's time to admit that critics of this war we're right all along: We'll never manufacture the "democratic utopia" George W. Bush promised.
"United Nations: Afghan government torturing prisoners"
This could ruin our plan to leave: The U.S., Britain, and their allies are trying to build up Afghanistan's security forces so they can take over when foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014, says Julian Borger at Britain's Guardian. But torture destroys the government's credibility and fuels the insurgency. And if this is how Afghan forces treat their own people, our plan to increase the roster of Afghan soldiers "could make the problem worse rather than better" — and cripple our exit strategy.
"Afghanistan torture report raises major questions about West's strategy"