Friday, December 18, 2009

ICRC visits Afghan troops in Taliban custody

PESHAWAR: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has carried out two

visits to three members of the Afghan security forces detained by the Taliban

in Badghis province in northwest Afghanistan last month, a communication said on Tuesday.

This was the first time since the beginning of the current conflict that the ICRC has visited people detained by the armed opposition, said the Peshawar office of the ICRC. “We welcome this breakthrough. We plan to conduct and repeat visits in other regions, and hope to visit people held by other armed opposition groups, for ensuring that everyone detained in relation to the armed conflict is treated humanely,” the communication quoted the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Kabul, Reto Stocker, as saying.

The ICRC regularly visits people held in connection with the conflict to assess their conditions of detention and treatment. It then shares its findings, recommendations and concerns with the detaining parties on a strictly confidential basis, to ensure humane treatment.

“International humanitarian law grants the same protection to everyone held in connection with the armed conflict, whether the detaining party is the international or Afghan security forces or the armed opposition,” Stocker said. The ICRC currently visited 136 places of detention in Afghanistan and has registered over 16,000 persons since the beginning of the current conflict in 2001, the communication said.

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