- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2004

KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. military is changing procedures at its jails in Afghanistan after a review prompted by accusations of prisoner abuse, the military said yesterday.

It declined to give details of the changes.

The military is acting on the interim findings of an American general who visited American jails across the country, without waiting for his final report, spokesman Lt. Col. Tucker Mansager said.

“We’re taking action on those [findings] as they come forward, evaluating them, implementing some of them, deferring some of them and planning some of the rest of them out,” Col. Mansager said at a press conference in Kabul.

He declined to describe the report’s suggestions or the changes made.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Barno, ordered the review last month as the scandal over detainee abuse in Iraq drew new attention to possible mistreatment in Afghanistan, including three deaths in custody.

Brig. Gen. Charles Jacoby, Gen. Barno’s deputy operational chief, visited all of nearly 20 American holding facilities, most at bases in the south and east where about 20,000 U.S.-led troops are battling Taliban and al Qaeda insurgents.

Gen. Jacoby will give his final report to Gen. Barno soon, and some of the findings will be made public by early July “after a review process,” Col. Mansager said.

Two detainees died at the U.S. military’s main Bagram base, north of Kabul, in December 2002. Both were ruled homicides after autopsies found the men had died from “blunt-force injuries.”

The military says it has made a number of unspecified changes to its prisons as a result of the deaths. But it has yet to release results of its investigations.

The death of another detainee in eastern Afghanistan in June 2003 also is under investigation by the CIA, and the military is probing accusations of mistreatment brought by two former detainees last month — including beatings, the use of hoods and sexual abuse.

One, an Afghan police colonel told the Associated Press that he was beaten, stripped naked and sexually abused and humiliated while in U.S. custody for nearly 40 days last year at three American bases.

The accusations are similar to those made against several U.S. soldiers involving acts of torture and sexual humiliation in Iraq.

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