U.S. to halt Afghan detainee transfers

Jan. 17, 2013 at 7:39 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. military has halted the transfer of most detainees to Afghan prisons following charges of widespread torture and human rights abuses, officials said.

U.S. military officials became aware of the alleged abuses through a U.N. investigative report expected to be released as early as next week, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force officials have asked the Afghan government to open an investigation into local Afghan police officers' treatment of detainees before the suspension will be lifted.

"Afghan military forces and police that operate effectively and with respect for human rights are central to the success of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan," said Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a Pentagon spokesman on Afghan policy.

Afghan officials have denied the allegations, the Times reported.

"I dismiss all the allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in Afghan prisons," said Amir Mohammad Jamshidi, general director of the prisons department in the Ministry of Interior. "I have not heard anything about Americans' decision to halt or cut their support or transfer of detainees to the Afghan side," he said.

A Pentagon official said the new suspension will not stop the transfer of prisoners at the main Bagram Prison.

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