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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs