US to UN: We've Held 200 Teens in Afghanistan
Youths' average age is 16: report
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 8, 2012 8:06 AM CST
In this photo reviewed by the U.S. military, US military personnel stand on a guard tower at the Parwan detention facility near Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan in this Sept. 27, 2010 file photo.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

(Newser) – During the war in Afghanistan, the US has detained some 200 teenage "enemy combatants," each for about a year, American officials tell the UN. The youths have been held at a military prison near Bagram Airfield not as punishment, but in order to prevent them "from returning to the battlefield," the US report says. Some are still being held in a facility that will soon be controlled by the Afghan government, the AP reports. Officials say the teens' ages aren't typically known until after they're captured.

The US says the average age is about 16, which means many were likely younger than that, says an ACLU rep. The head of an advocacy group notes that she's "represented children as young as 11 or 12 who have been at Bagram," noting that detainees aren't allowed "to contest their age" and that 200 seems like a low estimate. According to the report, detainees "would generally not be provided legal assistance" because they weren't charged with a crime. A yearlong detention means "greater risk of physical and mental abuse, especially if they are denied access to the protections guaranteed to them under international law," adds the ACLU spokesman. Click through for the full story.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
Dec 9, 2012 9:09 AM CST
quick send them lady gaggag and justb and that korean gag who ever! hold them also please!
Dec 8, 2012 3:33 PM CST
Perhaps we should put these young'uns in school while we detain them, let them experience a more western lifestyle, and talk to them sanely and compassionately. Let the Sufi's teach them a different side of Islam. Give them lessons on conflict resolution, compromise and the democratic process. Have them talk with women who don't flinch and bow their heads. Give them a chance to be our good will ambassadors when they get out.
Dec 8, 2012 10:00 AM CST
All you have to do is look at the videos posted on YouTube, showing babies dressed in Jihadist-Green and waving toy AK's around, while babbling about "hoping to achieve Martydom!" By the time they've reached the age of 11 or 12 they probably have received the type of training a young American here would receive during Army Basic. Don't look at a typical American child and put that face on these detainees. Don't forget what the Iranians did with youngsters like this during the Iraq-Iran War. They psyched them up then sent them, wave after wave, charging into the Iraqi guns.