//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Many Afghans held by Australian troops are falsely accused


Tribal leader Malak Saqzai from Mirabad was mistakenly arrested with his sons and 40 local men by Australian forces

Tribal leader Malak Saqzai from Mirabad was mistakenly arrested with his sons and 40 local men by Australian forces

More than half the almost 1900 Afghans detained by Australian forces in Oruzgan may have been innocents falsely accused by local enemies , according to the province’s chief of police, Matiullah Khan.

They were named so their enemies could gain advantages in tribal, business or personal disputes.

Asked about the numbers first put forward by tribal elders, Matiullah told Fairfax Media: ”That is right – I agree with that figure.”

At meetings in several district centres and in Tarin Kowt, elders, businessmen and other community figures complained about the gullibility of Australians and Americans in accepting concocted stories that often led to the detention of the wrong people and in some cases, unjustified bombing raids or firefights.

Advertisement

By the reckoning of elders at Chora, north of Tarin Kowt, the Australians trained an army of local spies who, according to one man, ”make the right reports and the wrong reports, because of local disputes”.

Haji Mohammad Qasim is chief among the most loyal supporters of the Australian mission, but even he issues a rebuke. ”Of course, there are people here who set up the Australians to target their enemies,” he says. ”We have people who could tell them the truth before they act on bad information – all they needed to do was to check with the police and others.”

When Fairfax Media put detailed questions on detainees to the Australian Defence Force, its response was to provide a web link to a parliamentary paper from early last month in which Defence Minister Stephen Smith says that of 1867 ”suspected insurgents” detained since August 2010, 154 had been transferred to Afghan authorities and 98 to US authorities.

Unstated, but implied, was that the remaining 1615 were deemed not to be ”suspected insurgents” and were released.

In response to questions from Fairfax Media, the ADF did not supply information on the charges laid against detainees or the outcome of any hearings.

Other questions that went unanswered sought information on the reasons for detentions; whether on or off the battlefield; how many were based on tips by other Afghans; and how were such tips verified before the Australian military acted.

In a further statement, the ADF said only that suspects were detained ”for a number of reasons”, adding: ”An individual will be detained in order to remove suspected insurgents from the battlefield to protect ADF, International Security Assistance Force and Afghan security forces personnel and to promote security and stability.”

Without directly addressing the issue of bogus tips, it said that information from the community was assessed against other information sources – ”and may or may not result in detention”.

Matiullah Khan explains: ”We’ve had lots of discussions with the foreigners on the need to be careful with local disputes and people misusing them. The arrests are decreasing, but it’ll not stop till the Americans, especially, leave all their forward bases.”

Former provincial police chief Juma Gul Heimat is less sanguine.

”A lot of innocent people were jailed as Talibs because of disputes between the tribes,” he says with anger. ”People from one tribe go to the coalition and make unfounded accusations – then those people get jailed and their homes raided.”

He reaches back to 2002 and the death of almost 50 people when US aircraft attacked a wedding celebration at Dihrawud.

At the time, the Americans said they had been advised insurgents were in the area. Locals insisted there were no Taliban and that the Americans had misread harmless celebratory shooting at the wedding.

”What the people remember is wedding parties and other gatherings being bombed and people dying, being sent to jail or fleeing the area,” Juma Gul says.

”I was there [at the wedding] when Malawi Mohammad Anwar’s home was bombed and 25 people died. He was Karzai’s No.1 supporter. We collected the body parts of his whole family, who were killed.”

Military analysts cite the Dihrawud wedding bombing as a classic in the tribes’ use of foreign forces as hitmen in a tribal dispute, and the mistaken belief by foreign forces that talking to others locally corroborates the information.

A human rights researcher told Fairfax Media that Afghans who work for the Americans had told him ”they have to say something bad about all Afghans – or they lose credibility with their bosses”.

An observer of the Australian operation in Tarin Kowt made the same point – ”too often the Afghan translators tell them what they think the foreigners want to hear”.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald – “Many Afghans held by ADF are falsely accused”
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Many Afghans held by Australian troops are falsely accused

  1. Hi,
    An extremely interesting article.
    Ciao,
    Patti

    Posted by patgarcia | March 17, 2013, 01:32

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Australia places Syria group on terrorist list | Craig Hill - March 17, 2013

  2. Pingback: Afghan women tricked into spying on Taliban for US, Australian forces | Craig Hill - March 25, 2013

  3. Pingback: Australian troops in Afghanistan at risk of final Taliban assault | Craig Hill - April 18, 2013

  4. Pingback: Australian military police stop Afghan prisoner tranfers because of mistreatment | Craig Hill - May 19, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,844 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

2021 Olympic viewership: China vs USA

2021 Olympic viewership: China vs USA

At least 4 reasons explain the differences between China and the USA on viewership of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. While the viewing of the Games both live and via media reporting in Greater China — mainland, Taiwan Island, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR — surpassed old records, the attention of the US public […]

‘Made in China’ products are running into new international shipping problems

‘Made in China’ products are running into new international shipping problems

Chinese companies wanting to go global are running into shipping problems. Access to cheap manufacturing at home gave Chinese businesses an advantage overseas. But it’s turning into a disadvantage now, as the pandemic and trade tensions disrupt international supply channels. Many goods can’t be shipped out, said Fang Xueyu, vice president of international marketing and […]

The dubious terms of China’s massive international loan spree

The dubious terms of China’s massive international loan spree

China is the world’s biggest lender to governments. And that’s not just because of its gigantic stockpile of US Treasuries. For much of the past decade Beijing has sought to plug massive infrastructure funding gaps across multiple continents through its Belt and Road Initiative. The overarching aim, other than to bolster global influence, is to […]

Analysis of China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative: Genesis and Development

Analysis of China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative: Genesis and Development

Understanding the foreign policy and geo-economic strategies of countries, especially in such a difficult time when national borders are closed and the “militarization” of cybersecurity (Hopkins, 2012), becomes an important, if not vital, task for each individual country in its attempts to take its rightful place in building a new world order and development economy. In the […]

China decides to engage with Afghanistan’s Taliban to further persecute Uyghurs

China decides to engage with Afghanistan’s Taliban to further persecute Uyghurs

With the United States withdrawing and the Taliban having swept to control of about half of Afghanistan, few observers give the Afghan government much chance of survival. September may be a decisive month, when the withdrawal is complete and American air operations against Taliban positions end. That is the background to Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s […]

Cadence Column: Asia, August 2, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, August 2, 2021

British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is trudging through China’s backyard. Chinese government news “Global Times” describes Britain as trying to relive its old days. China was never happy about getting its ass whipped twice in the Opium Wars, which China provoked with its economic philosophy that “sliver-in, tealeaves-out” was sustainable trade. China, now with […]

Attacks on foreign journalists in China cast shadow over Beijing’s upcoming Olympics

Attacks on foreign journalists in China cast shadow over Beijing’s upcoming Olympics

After promises during the 2008 Olympics, “[f]ew could have imagined the CCP stooping to the level of running campaigns against individual news reporters and outlets, resulting in harassment and death threats against foreign reporters,” writes William Nee. On July 20, in the central plains of Henan province, one of China’s most important regional cities, Zhengzhou, […]

Tibet and China clash over next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama

Tibet and China clash over next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama

A couple of years ago, during a meeting of Tibetan leaders in Dharamshala in India, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was asked about his reincarnation. Addressing the room of monks, religious teachers and Tibetan politicians, the Dalai Lama asked them to look into his eyes. “Do you think it’s time now?” he asked. It […]

China orders one member of each Tibetan family to enlist in the military to fight against India

China orders one member of each Tibetan family to enlist in the military to fight against India

China has been hatching several conspiracies since its defeat on the eastern Ladakh border against India last year. Considering the fact that Tibetan youth can play a vital role in fighting India in the Himalayan mountains on the borders of eastern Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, China has made it mandatory for one member of every […]

China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches South China Sea

China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches South China Sea

China has warned the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth not to carry out any “improper acts” as it enters the contested South China Sea. ‘The People’s Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness’ says the pro-government Global Times, seen as a mouthpiece for the […]

%d bloggers like this: