Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CF still transfering to Afghans: Valpy

The Globe and Mail's Michael Valpy relays what an anonymous source told him: Canadian forces, conveniently claiming they are led by Afghan units, continue to hand over prisoners to Afghan custody.

Detainee fallout: take few, free quickly

The Canadian Forces are holding insurgent detainees at their Kandahar Air Force base rather than turning them over to Afghan authorities, are taking fewer prisoners and are quickly releasing some of them. ...

One well-placed source who spoke to The Globe and Mail Monday on condition of anonymity said that, in addition to being told that Canadian detainees were being held at Kandahar Air Force base, he understood some insurgents detained in joint Canadian Forces-Afghan National Army combat operations were being turned over to the Afghan military in a “grey zone” action.

He said he has been told that Canadians have been content in some cases to allow operations to be labelled as Afghan-led military proceedings. Thus, detainees passed into Afghan military hands with no records kept.

Since the Canadian military's decision to stop transferring detainees became known, there has been rife speculation on what is being done with them, with three options being mentioned: that Canadians were holding detainees at KAF; that Canadians were transferring detainees to the Americans; and that Canadians had simply stopped detaining people.

Transferring detainees to the Americans would be, in the words of one federal politician, “the red-hot issue” because of the harsh interrogation techniques the U.S. military uses.

Janice Gross Stein, director of University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies and co-author of a widely lauded book on Canada's military engagement in Afghanistan, said, “I would be astonished if the Canadian Forces were transferring detainees to the Americans, absolutely astonished.”

She also said she had not heard of any “grey zone” transfers but commented: “That would be a very dangerous thing to do.” ... (link)

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