NATO-led forces complicit in torture?

A British soldier searches an Afghan motorcyclist at a temporary checkpoint after a suicide attack in Kabul, 23 May 2007

A British soldier searches an Afghan motorcyclist at a temporary checkpoint after a suicide attack in Kabul, 23 May 2007

© Musadeq Sadeq/ AP/ PA Photos


13 November 2007

People detained in Afghanistan continue to face torture and other ill-treatment, in particular by the country's intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS). Yet, despite consistent reports of torture and other ill-treatment, including from the UN and Amnesty International,, members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – particularly those from Belgium, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and Norway – have continued to hand detainees over to the NDS.

The abuses are taking place in the context of the ongoing conflict involving the Afghan government, international military forces, the Taleban and other armed groups. Over the past two years, Amnesty International has received repeated reports of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of the NDS, including detainees being whipped, exposed to extreme cold and deprived of food. Many of them have been arrested arbitrarily and detained incommunicado, without access to lawyers and families.

By transferring individuals to locations where they are at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment, ISAF states may be complicit in this treatment, and are breaching their international legal obligations.

The report Detainees transferred to torture: ISAF complicity? highlights cases including allegations of torture by Afghan authorities of transferred detainees; incidents where ISAF states have lost track of transferred detainees; the difficulties in independently monitoring detainees in Afghan custody and the practice of on-the-spot transfers without documentation.

Amnesty International is urging all ISAF states to suspend all transfers of detainees and hold them in their custody until effective safeguards are in place. Meanwhile, ISAF countries should promote the reform of the Afghan detention system, including by facilitating training of detention officials. The Afghan government must ensure the end of all practices of torture, other ill-treatment and arbitrary detention in the country.

Afghanistan: Detainees transferred to torture: ISAF complicity?

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Index Number: ASA 11/011/2007
Date Published: 13 November 2007
Categories: Afghanistan, Asia And The Pacific

Amnesty International has received reports of torture, other ill-treatment, and arbitrary detention by Afghanistan's intelligence service. This report builds on research by Amnesty International into Afghanistan's justice system and focuses on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) detention and transfer policies. The cases highlighted in this report include allegations of torture by Afghan authorities of transferred detainees; incidents where ISAF states have lost track of transferred detainees; the difficulties in independently monitoring detainees in Afghan custody; and the practice of on the spot transfers without documentation.


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