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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs