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Rights Group Criticizes US Military for Treatment of Afghan Detainees

The human rights group, Amnesty International, is criticizing the U.S. military for failing to account for the deaths of two Afghan detainees last year. A military spokesman, however, says disclosure on the cases is expected soon. In a report Monday, Amnesty International says the U.S. military has not fulfilled its promise to release findings from an investigation into the deaths of two Afghan prisoners.

The two prisoners died in December 2002, while in U.S. custody at Bagram Air Base, the headquarters for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The base also serves as a detention center for those accused of supporting the two-year-old armed insurgency in Afghanistan, waged by remnants of the country's former Taleban regime and other groups.

The Amnesty International report says the U.S. military classified the deaths as homicides, but offered no explanation, despite announcing an investigation into the matter earlier this year.

U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Matt Beevers says the investigation is still in progress, and comments on the case will have to wait until its conclusion. He says that the coalition forces are taking the issue seriously, and will act once a final determination is made on the cases.

The Amnesty report also alleges general mistreatment of Bagram detainees, citing interviews with former prisoners at the base. Ex-prisoners say they were forced to kneel blindfolded for long periods, and sometimes deprived of sleep.

U.S. military officials deny charges they mistreated detainees, saying all those in custody are treated according to international human rights standards.