Taliban suspects tortured in Afghan detention centres

Suspected Taliban fighters have been subjected to beatings, electric shocks and other forms of torture in some Afghan-run detention centres, the United Nations said yesterday.

A 74-page UN report found that detainees in 47 facilities in 24 provinces run by the Afghan National Police and the Directorate of Security suffered interrogation techniques that constituted torture under international and Afghan law. But it added that the abuse was not the result of government policy.

The Nato-led international military coalition announced last month that it had stopped transferring detainees to 16 of the facilities. Nato was taking action to help solve the problem before resuming the transfers, the report said.

The report said Afghan security ministries co-operated with the investigation and have taken measures to stop the abuse after being presented with the report. Although Afghan security officials have long been suspected of torturing detainees to elicit information and confessions, the report for the first time confirms the practice.

The report said most of the detainees were "suspected of being Taliban fighters, suicide attack facilitators, producers of improvised explosive devices, and others implicated in crimes associated with the armed conflict in Afghanistan". It said torture methods included suspending people by their wrists, beating the soles of the feet, electric shocks, twisting detainees' genitals, removing toe nails and being put in stress positions. AP