Appearing before a House of Commons committee in Ottawa Nov. 18, Richard Colvin, a former senior diplomat with Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, blasted his country’s detainee policies, testifying that all detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons were likely tortured—and that many of them were innocent.
The detainees were captured by Canadian soldiers then handed over to the Afghan intelligence service, called the NDS. Colvin, who served in 2006-7, said Canada was taking six times as many detainees as British troops and 20 times as many as the Dutch. He said unlike the British and Dutch, Canadian forces did not monitor their conditions; took days, weeks or months to notify the Red Cross; kept poor records; and concealed their practices behind “walls of secrecy.”
“According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured,” Colvin said. “For interrogators in Kandahar, it was a standard operating procedure.” He said the most common forms of torture were beatings, whipping with power cables, the use of electricity, knives, open flames and rape. (CBC, Nov. 18)
We have already noted the brutal conditions in Afghanistan’s prisons.