Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, expressed outrage and astonishment at the recently released U.S. Senate report detailing the use of torture by the United State’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Ghani joins numerous world leaders in expressing his disapproval at the United States’ use of torture against detainees. Speaking before a press conference in Kabul, Ghani noted, “The report shows that the principles of human rights, as well as the Constitution of the United States and universally accepted ethics, had been violated by the C.I.A. and its contractors.”
Ghani emphasized the evidence implicating the CIA in torturing Afghan citizens with his comments as well. Ghani noted that the report “shows that our fellow countrymen have unfortunately been tortured and had their rights violated.” Ghani added that some of the Afghan citizens that were tortured were ultimately “proven to be entirely innocent.”
However, where his predecessor Hamid Karzai may have taken the opportunity of the release of this report to condemn the United States’ continued presence in Afghanistan, Ghani cautioned that the abuses detailed in the Senate report took place several years ago and would not affect how the Afghan government approaches future cooperation with the United States. One of Ghani’s first actions after taking office was the conclusion of a long-awaited Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States that will form the legal basis for a U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Ghani emphasized that he wanted “the entire nation to know” that the BSA would not allow U.S. troops to maintain prisons or arrest Afghan citizens.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
The release of the Senate report on torture incidentally coincided with the U.S. military formally closing down the infamous detention facility at the Bagram Air Base, which was the site of U.S. abuses against Afghans in custody. In 2002, two inmates were beaten to death by U.S. soldiers. Bagram prison was formally transferred to the Afghan government in March 2013, but the U.S. military retained control of foreign inmates being held at the facility.
With the release of the report, American citizens in Afghanistan and Pakistan were warned to remain vigilant against potential anti-American protests and violence. The U.S. embassies in Islamabad and Kabul released statements noting that that “the release of declassified versions of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s study on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program could prompt anti-U.S. protests and violence against U.S. interests, including private U.S. citizens.”