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Charges Of Prisoner Abuse Investigated In Afghanistan

12 May 2004 -- The U.S. military has opened an investigation into allegations that an Afghan police officer was abused, humiliated and photographed while detained on a U.S. base.

Afghan police officer Sayed Nabi Siddiqui, who was interviewed by "The New York Times," said he spent some 40 days in detention at the U.S. bases in Gardez and Bagram, where he alleges he was subject to beatings, sleep deprivation, and sexual abuse. Siddiqui said he was repeatedly photographed naked by his U.S. captors, like the Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghurayb prison.

U.S. Colonel Tucker Mansager told reporters in Kabul today that Saddiqui's accusations, and those of other Afghans, are being investigated.

"We will continue to have to investigate allegations such as these when they are brought [to light]," Mansager said. "I think we have done that before and we are doing it now. Certainly there is a lot more focus on the issue at this point in time due to what has happened, or come to light, in Iraq."

Mansager said other coalition partners in Afghanistan had been notified of the U.S. military's investigations and are assisting.

Meanwhile, in Iraq today the U.S. military announced that two more soldiers have been ordered to stand trial in connection with the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghurayb prison in Iraq.

U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said two noncommissioned officers will face general court martials on charges of assault, dereliction of duty, and maltreatment of detainees, among other charges. No date has been given for their trials.

Another soldier is facing a court martial in one week.

U.S. senators were expected to view unreleased photographs today showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.

The viewing comes a day after senators heard testimony from an army general who said there was no evidence that soldiers were directly ordered to carry out the abuse, but that there was a failure in leadership and a lack of supervision at the prison.

(AP/New York Times/Reuters/AFP)