News / Asia

Afghanistan Demands British Forces Transfer Prisoners Within Weeks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded on Saturday that Britain hand over within two weeks more than 80 prisoners of war being held in a British base in the south, saying the detention was against Afghan law and a breach of sovereignty.

The issue of prisoner transfers is an irritant in the relationship Karzai between and his Western backers, and has become more pronounced as the NATO-led international force prepares to pull out most of its troops by the end of next year.

Last month, a British legal firm said the detention of up to 85 Afghans for as long as 14 months in the British-controlled Camp Bastion in Helmand province was in breach of British and international law.

The British government has cited concerns about Afghanistan's treatment of detainees and denied that claim.

On Saturday, Karzai's national security adviser, Rangin Datfar Spanta, wrote to the British Embassy in Kabul and asked for the detainees to be handed over by June 22, said a statement from Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

"Continuing the detention of Afghan nationals by British forces will be a violation of our national sovereignty and our country's laws," Faizi said.

The British embassy said in a statement it had not yet seen Karzai's message as at Sunday morning. Britain, it said, "fully supported" transferring detainees as quickly as possible to Afghan custody, but wanted assurances they would be treated well.

"It has been the threat of UK court action that has prevented us from transferring detainees to the Afghan authorities since last November," the statement said. "In resuming the transfer of UK captured detainees to Afghan custody, we must be satisfied that they do not face a real risk of serious mistreatment or torture."

Britain it said had been working with Afghanistan as a priority "to identify a safe transfer route".

Foreign rights groups occasionally accuse the Afghan state of using torture and abuse, while Kabul says Western nations rely on questionable international legal principles to detain Afghans without access to Afghanistan's courts.

Numerous countries fighting in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan continue to hold Afghan detainees. Last month Australia, which operates a force in the southern province of Uruzgan, announced it was suspending transfers of prisoners to an Afghan facility due to allegations of mistreatment.

In November, British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond imposed a ban on transferring suspects to Afghan forces due to concerns over ill treatment. He added that the detainees were suspected of killing British troops and planting roadside bombs.

Camp Bastion houses around 30,000 staff and is the largest British military base in Afghanistan.

On May 31, the United Nations anti-torture watchdog urged Britain to widen and speed up investigations into alleged torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan by British troops, and prosecute those responsible.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs