Cdn Parliamentary Commission-investigates handling Afghan POWs
What happens to Taliban prisoners captured by Canadians on the battlefied? This is presently investigated by a Canadian Parliamentary Commission. There are allegations of prisoner abuse of those handed over to the Afghan authorities. The allegations also point to the fact that senior Canadian officials in the Defence and Foreign Affairs Departments were aware of torture of those prisoners by Afghan authorities. The allegations suggest that the PMO (Prime Minister's Office), including the Prime Minister himself may have been aware of those facts.
Richard Colvin, a senior Foreign Affairs Diplomat, who had the number two job in Afghanistan, is expected to raise some uproar today. He is expected to testify that he visited prisoners several time. During his visits he was told of torture using electric wire to shock testicals, standing for 24 hours while being interogated, among others.
Colvin is expected to reveal that he send several memos to senior Defence and Foreign Affairs officials.
Canadian Forces in Afghanistan have no capability to hold prisoners. The Canadian contingent numbers 2800 troops and a battle group of about 1200 does the heavy lifting in Forward Observation Bases set up outside the wire of Kandahar Airfield (KAF).
When prisoners are captured they are searched by the combat troops, tagged and send to Battle group headquarters. A quick interrogation takes place to get time sensitive information before troops are send back to the Canadian contingent headquarters. Those headquarters then handed prisoner over to Afghan authorites. The practice was suspended when this news came to light.
The testimony of a Canadian diplomat before a parliamentary committee Wednesday is likely to provide disturbing information about the government's handling of Afghan detainees, CBC News has learned.
The testimony of diplomat Richard Colvin is expected to provide details of what sources describe as an "unusual system" that saw Afghan detainees transferred to Afghan prisons, with little care about the conditions there.
"I think it will be a difficult story for Canadians," a source told the CBC, adding they could be both surprised and disturbed by what Colvin says.
Opposition MPs are expected to focus their questions to Colvin on what the government knew about the alleged abuse of Afghan detainees and what it chose to do about it.