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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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