KABUL, Afghanistan -- Alleged abuse of prisoners -- including three deaths -- at US jails in Afghanistan has prompted "very significant changes" in how the military treats detainees, including quicker transfers from jails at outlying bases, a US general said yesterday.
But Lieutenant General David Barno rejected demands by an Afghan human rights group for access to the prisoners to make sure they are not suffering the same abuses that have come to light in Iraq. Speaking to reporters, Barno said the military had looked into "challenges and problems" at holding facilities in Afghanistan. He didn't say what the allegations were, or if any of them had been verified.
"One of the things we've done recently is to reduce the amount of time we're allowing local [American] commanders to have people in their temporary facilities before they come to Bagram," the main US base north of Kabul, Barno said.
Barno was fielding questions about reported complaints by former detainees at bases including Gardez in eastern Afghanistan and Kandahar, in the south. He said all complaints were investigated and "appropriate action" taken as a result.