Dutch soldiers transfer Afghan prisoners to torturers


This November 2013 video says about itself:

Afghan army torture prisoner as US forces look on

Investigative reporter Matthieu Aikins has uncovered video from Afghanistan showing Afghan National Army members repeatedly whipping a prisoner as US forces look on.

He obtained the video whilst working on an investigation into alleged US war crimes for Rolling Stone magazine. US forces have frequently been accused of turning a blind eye to their Afghan colleagues torturing their prisoners during interrogation.

Here are links to the Matthieu Aikins reports for Rolling Stone:

The A-team killings: here.

Torture video: here.

Democracy Now Interview with Aikins: here.

Vice documentary – “This is What Winning Looks Like”: here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘Prisoners of Dutch military mission tortured by Afghanistan’s secret service

Prisoners who were transferred to the Afghan security service during the Dutch military mission in Uruzgan have been tortured and extorted. That happened despite promises from the then minister Ben Bot that the treatment of the prisoners would be closely monitored, Trouw daily writes.

The newspaper reports on research by the Dutch journalists’ collective Lighthouse Reports. That states that a prisoner tracking system has hardly worked, despite Bot’s promises.

Minister Bot’s promise came after concerned questions from the House of Representatives. The Afghan security service NDS had an extremely bad reputation. It was therefore agreed that the prisoners would be monitored. The International Red Cross and the local AIHRC organization were supposed to get access to the prisoners and Dutch diplomats were supposed to visit the prisoners regularly.

Prisoner tracking system

Lighthouse Reports states that the prisoner tracking system barely functioned. Not only were there not enough people to visit the prisoners, the Red Cross and the AIHRC did not always have access to the prisoners.

There are only 69 reports of prison visits, which are sometimes very short. That means there are no reports on a majority of the approximately 230 people who were transferred to the NDS. A total of 574 people were captured by Dutch soldiers.

Threats

In those 69 reports there is nothing about abuse, but according to Lighthouse Reports that did happen. Together with an Afghan research organisation, the collective tracked down various people who were transferred from the Dutch army to the NDS.

One of those prisoners is M., who was tortured because shortly after the transfer by the Netherlands he was unable to pay an amount of one thousand euros to the NDS.

M. asked his brother to sell their land and bring the proceeds the next day, but when the brother did not come, M. was ill-treated again. That also happened when the brother turned up the day after, but with too little money. Eventually, M. was released, with the announcement that he would be killed if he told someone about the torture and the money.

Cold cell

Also A., then 18 years old, was tortured after the transfer. Sometimes he didn’t get food for days. “If I did get food, it was so filthy that I had to puke.” He was locked up in a cold cell and kept awake. Moreover, his guards threatened with transfer to the US Americans and Guantánamo Bay.

A.’s father eventually managed to scrape together nearly three thousand euros, so that his son was released after a year and a half. Prisoners who could not raise money were sometimes killed, say both M. and A.

Witness

Dutch soldiers have also witnessed the abuse, according to conversations that journalists from Lighthouse Reports had with a number of them. One of them talks about the transfer of a prisoner who was thrown by an Afghan into the loading box of a pickup truck. The prisoner’s head bounced and immediately started bleeding.

Later the veteran asked his senior officer what would happen to the prisoners. To which his supervisor said: “If you are very quiet and you wait a little longer, then you will hear it automatically.”

The Netherlands left Uruzgan in 2010, after which Australia took over the mission. That decided a year later to temporarily stop the transfer of prisoners to the NDS and again in 2013, following an investigation into reports of torture in the NDS prison in Tarin Kowt.

7 thoughts on “Dutch soldiers transfer Afghan prisoners to torturers

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