5 thoughts on “Death penalty for Christians in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan?

  1. Canada slammed for Afghan child prisoner handover

    2 hours, 48 minutes ago

    By David Ljunggren

    OTTAWA (Reuters) – Opposition legislators blasted the Canadian government on Monday after it emerged that Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan captured children suspected of working with the Taliban and then handed them over to an Afghan security unit alleged to have abused prisoners.

    The revelations are the latest blow to Canada’s increasingly unpopular combat mission in southern Afghanistan, which is due to end next year.

    The question of Afghan detainees — and whether Canadian soldiers knew they might be abused — has been one of the most difficult issues for the minority Conservative government since it took power in early 2006.

    The Defense Department said some child detainees were handed over to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), stressing that no transfers would take place if Canadian officers felt there was any risk of torture.

    Last year a Canadian diplomat said that as early as 2006, he had sent reports indicating the NDS was abusing detainees.

    Opposition members of Parliament pressed the government in the House of Commons over what the soldiers had done.

    “The Canadian government knew perfectly well that the NDS practiced torture. Why did Canada transfer child prisoners to the Afghan NDS torturers?” asked Thomas Mulcair, deputy leader of the left-leaning New Democrats.

    “How many children were arrested? How many children were transferred? How many children were tortured?”

    Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon did not directly answer the questions, while noting that Canada and Afghanistan had an agreement allowing Canadians to monitor prisoners.

    A briefing document sent to Defense Minister Peter MacKay in March said Afghan authorities were now sending child prisoners to a separate juvenile rehabilitation center rather than housing them in an NDS-run prison in Kandahar.

    A Defense Department spokeswoman said the Taliban were known to forcibly recruit those under 18 and train them to become fighters or suicide bombers.

    “Should it be determined that a juvenile detainee poses a real and substantial risk to the Canadian Forces and our allies, they are transferred … to the National Directorate of Security,” she said.

    Canadian commanders do not transfer prisoners if there is “a real risk that the detainee would be in danger of being subjected to torture”, she added.

    The briefing document for MacKay — obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp under access to information laws — said some children had been in “Canadian Forces custody for a significant period”. The exact amount of time, as well as the number of children, was deleted.

    Canada has around 2,800 troops in the southern Kandahar region, and has so far lost 153 servicemen and women. Once the combat mission ends next year, about 950 soldiers will stay behind until 2014 to help train Afghan forces.

    (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

  2. Last updated November 29, 2010 10:37 p.m. PT

    Trial for sergeant accused of helping beat soldier

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The Army says a Joint Base Lewis-McChord sergeant accused of helping to assault a soldier who blew the whistle on drug use in Afghanistan will go on trial.

    Staff Sgt. David D. Bram is charged with conspiracy to commit assault and battery, unlawfully striking another soldier, violating a lawful order, dereliction of duty and trying to impede an investigation.

    If convicted in a court-martial, the 27-year-old from Vacaville, Calif., faces a maximum 9 1/2 years in prison. The Army said Monday no trial date has been scheduled.

    The News Tribune reports that the whistleblower, Pfc. Justin Stoner, told Army investigators in May that Bram initiated a group assault by pinning him against a wall by his neck.

    Bram is not among five soldiers charged in the deaths of three Afghan civilians during patrols in Kandahar Province this year.

    Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com

  3. Karzai pardons criminals: WikiLeaks

    AFP – 1 hour 49 minutes ago

    KABUL (AFP) – – Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the release of numerous dangerous criminals and drug traffickers detained by US-led coalition forces, leaked American diplomatic cables revealed Tuesday.

    American officials said they had repeatedly rebuked the president and Afghan attorney general Muhammad Ishaq Alko for authorising the release of detainees over a three-year period.

    “Both authorize the release of detainees pre-trial and allow dangerous individuals to go free or re-enter the battlefield without ever facing an Afghan court,” said a cable dated August 2009 and classified as “secret” by then-US deputy ambassador to Afghanistan Francis Ricciardone.

    “Despite our complaints and expressions of concern to the GIRoA (Afghan government), pre-trial releases continue,” it said.

    Internet whistleblower WikiLeaks has begun releasing a quarter of a million confidential US diplomatic cables, detailing embarrassing and inflammatory episodes in what the White House called a “reckless and dangerous action”.

    In the August 2009 cable, American officials said that since 2007, 150 of the 629 detainees transferred from coalition to Afghan custody had been released without trial.

    It said Karzai had pardoned five border policemen in April 2009 who were caught with 124 kilograms (273 pounds) of heroin in their police vehicle and had been sentenced to terms of 16 to 18 years in prison.

    They were pardoned “on the grounds that they were distantly related to two individuals who had been martyred during the civil war,” the cable noted.

    The document said Karzai also intervened in a narcotics case involving the son of a wealthy businessman and one of his supporters.

    The president ordered a second investigation “without any constitutional authority” it said, which found the defendant had been framed.

    The latest cable strikes at the heart of Western fears that high-level corruption within the Afghan government and judiciary is undermining the nine-year war against the Taliban.

    Last week the attorney general, a key ally of the president, was accused of playing politics over a criminal probe into the country’s fraud-marred parliamentary elections that were held in September.

    The probe has queried the disqualification of 24 poll candidates by the country’s top electoral body.

    Election results released last week are said to have weakened support for the president, who has allies among those disqualified.

    The president’s office and attorney-general’s office were not immediately available for comment over the latest disclosure.

    On Monday, Afghanistan said its relations with the United States would not be affected by earlier leaked cables portraying Karzai as weak and paranoid, and his brother as a corrupt drugs baron.

    US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, has condemned the WikiLeaks’ release and reiterated American commitment “to building and strengthening a long-term partnership with the Afghan people and the Afghan government”.

    “Our shared goals do not change based on the release of purported diplomatic reporting from the past,” Eikenberry said.

  4. Not a Single Christian Church Left in Afghanistan, Says State Department

    Edwin Mora
    CNS News
    October 11, 2011

    There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

    This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.

    In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan’s new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.

    The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the Statet Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”

  5. Pingback: Afghan anti-poor policies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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