US secret prisons in Afghanistan continue to exist, under the Obama administrations. Andan Gopal interviewed Afghans who were detained and abused at several disclosed and undisclosed sites at US and Afghan military bases across the country. He also reveals the existence of another secret prison on Bagram Air Base that even the Red Cross does not have access to. It is dubbed the Black Jail and is reportedly run by US Special Forces.
While the military claims that abuse has lessened in the past three or four years, the torture reported today takes place in the smaller secret prisons and less in the Bagram Air Base main prison. Acts of waterboarding or swallowing large amounts of water, being hung from chains, being bitten and attacked by dogs, being slapped, kicked and punched, having to kneel on a metal bar as it is rolled across the shin, sleep deprivation, and being naked in public or outside in cold weather have been reported.
The question of accountability emerges around this issue. Because the Special Operations Forces are not under NATO rules of command and separate from the conventional military, little is reported and has been said concerning the night raids and secret detention centers. In its attempt to stamp out the growing Taliban insurgency and Al Qaeda, the US military has been arresting suspects and sending them to one of a number of secret detention areas on military bases, often on the slightest suspicion and without the knowledge of their families. These night raids have become even more feared and hated in Afghanistan than coalition airstrikes. The raids and detentions, little known or understood outside the Pashtun villages, have been turning Afghans against the very forces many of them greeted as liberators just a few years ago.
Source: “America’s Secret Afghan Prisons”: Investigation Unearths New US Torture Site, Abuse Allegations in Afghanistan, Democracy Now, Amy Goodman, February 2, 2010
America’s Secret Afghan Prisons, The Nation, Andan Gopal, January 28, 2010
Student Researcher: Alma Maciel
Instructor/Evaluator: Peter Phillips
Sonoma State University