News / Asia

Republican Senators say US Forces in Afghanistan 'Confused' About Detaining Enemy Combatants

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (second from r) briefs the media about his congressional delegation's recently completed trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan as Sen. Mike Crapo (left), Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Roger Wicker (right) listen, 12 Jan 20
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (second from r) briefs the media about his congressional delegation's recently completed trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan as Sen. Mike Crapo (left), Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Roger Wicker (right) listen, 12 Jan 20
Cindy Saine

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other Republican senators held a news conference at the Capitol in Washington after returning from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  They said U.S. and NATO forces are making progress in Afghanistan, but that U.S. military leaders and troops are confused by Obama administration policies aimed at protecting the rights of detained enemy combatants. 

McConnell and his Republican colleagues met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as well as Pakistani and U.S. military leaders during their visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  McConnell said progress and improved security were evident in all the areas where U.S. troops are present.  But he said in speaking with U.S. military leaders and soldiers he heard there is considerable confusion about procedures on detaining terrorists.

"From the top to the bottom, the American military people we talked to indicated some confusion operationally about what you do when you detain a terrorist."

Senator McConnell accused President Barack Obama of being "preoccupied with prisoners' rights, both at home and abroad, and said he believes this is wrong-headed and dangerous.

"This sort of preoccupation, if you will, that we see on full display here in the U.S. with the example of the Christmas would-be-bomber being turned over not to the military for interrogation, but to criminal courts and told he is entitled to a lawyer, is a mentality that I think is very dangerous to the war on terror," McConnell said.

After taking office, President Obama issued orders requiring strict adherence to anti-torture rules and ordered the prison at Guantanamo to be shut down within one year, which the administration has now admitted it will not be able to do because of problems finding places for the remaining prisoners to go. 

There has been discussion that some suspected terrorists captured on battlefields abroad could end up in U.S. civilian courts, and some Republican lawmakers have objected to the idea that U.S. military personnel might have to read suspected terrorists their constitutional rights. 

Human-rights organizations have criticized the Obama administration for upholding Bush administration policies that detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there.  

Senator McConnell and the other Republican senators also criticized President Obama's plans to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011.  Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho said many in Afghanistan and Pakistan doubt that the United States is committed to their countries over the long term.

"They have a concern about whether the United States is going to finish the job.  And this is creating concern in both Pakistan and in Afghanistan," Crapo said.

Senator Crapo said if people in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not think U.S. military forces and civilian aid workers will be around for much longer, they may fear coming out against the Taliban.  Senator McConnell said he assured everyone he met with that any withdrawal of U.S. forces will depend on conditions on the ground.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More