Sunday, May 6, 2007

Torture a Kabul Speciality

Ottawa’s deal to inspect prisoners shows it hasn’t learned from war history in Afghanistan

by Eric Margolis
The Toronto Sun

"How did Canada, one of the world’s most respected, law-abiding nations, become a party to the torture of prisoners in Afghanistan and a violator of the Geneva Conventions?The story begins in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

The Soviet KGB created a mirror-image secret police for its Afghan puppet government, KhAD.

Having been pursued by KhAD agents, I can speak with personal knowledge of this subject.....

In 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, allied itself to the Northern Alliance, and overthrew the Taliban. A figurehead, Hamid Karzai, was put in power. Real power, however, was held by the Communist-dominated Northern Alliance.

Once the Northern Alliance took Kabul, the KhAD, rechristened NDS, was quickly re-established. The old Communist torturers and war criminals went back into business.

Today, an estimated 60% of NDS personnel are former KhAD agents. Canadian and U.S. forces fighting to pacify southern Afghanistan have been routinely handing captives and suspects over to the NDS secret police — in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions.

This dirty secret was finally exposed to Canadians by a major Globe and Mail investigation.....

How did Canada get into this mess? Conservative politicians in Ottawa saw a chance to win new voters by whipping up jingoism in a jolly little war against “evil” Muslims that was supposed to be a slam dunk.

Chest-thumping generals leapt before they looked. The men in Ottawa responsible for getting Canadians stuck ever deeper in this ugly conflict had no knowledge whatsoever about Afghanistan, its tribal politics, or history.

Senior officers and politicians who claim not to have known they were handing over prisoners to the Afghan secret police for torture are either stunningly ignorant or lying......

Canadians who still believe the fairy tale that their forces in Afghanistan are “nation building” or doing social work should reflect on the grim fate of prisoners their soldiers handed over to the mercies of the Afghan secret police.

Ottawa’s deal this week with Kabul for inspection of NDS prisoners is a sham. The KhAD had the same empty “agreement” with human rights groups in the 1980s.

It’s bad enough Canada’s troops are defending Afghanistan’s warlords who run its booming heroin industry. Now Ottawa is hand in glove with the Communist Party’s veteran torturers. Well done, Ottawa."

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