US Military Review Calls for Afghan Prison Changes

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2009 10:45 AM CDT
An Afghan child peeps out of a waiting room at the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul, after visiting his relative at the US military base of Bagram.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – Afghanistan’s prison system, including the American-run Bagram facility, needs a complete overhaul, according to a new US military review. The current system, which has a dreadful reputation with both human rights advocates and Afghan civilians, houses radical inmates with more moderate prisoners. The offensive in the southern part of the country is likely to increase the population of the already-jammed facilities, where extremists are busily recruiting petty criminals, the New York Times reports.

The leaked report recommends education and job training for inmates convicted of less serious crimes, and the hiring and training of Afghan judges, prosecutors, and guards. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a private email last week to senior officers, emphasizing the importance of treating detainees humanely—another sign of official worry about prisoner abuse. “It is essential to who we are as a fighting force that we get this right,” he wrote.