US: 200 Teenagers Have Been Taken in Afghani War

Saturday, December 8, 2012

US: 200 Teenagers Have Been Taken in Afghani War

The U.S. army has taken more than 200 Afghani teenagers who had been taken within the war for around a year at a period at a army prison next to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, the United States Of America has told the United Nations. 

Afghani teenagers

The U.S. State Department characterized the detainees held since 2008 as "enemy combatants" in a document sent every 4 years to the United Nations in Geneva updating U.S. compliance because of U.N. Convention in the Rights of Child. 

The U.S. army had held them "to prevent a combatant from returning to the battlefield," the document said. 

A few are still confined during the Detention Facility in Parwan, which will be turned over to the Afghani government, it said. "Nearly all them have been released or transferred to the Afghani government," said the document, distributed this week. 

Nearly all of juvenile Afghani detainees were about 16 years of age, but their age was not usually determined until after capture, the U.S. document said. 

If the average age is 16, "This means it is highly likely that some children were as young as 14 or 13 years of age when these people were taken by U.S. forces," Jamil Dakwar, director of Our Civil Liberties Union's human rights program, said Friday. 

"I've represented children as young as 11 or 12 who possess been at Bagram," said Tina M. Foster, executive director of International Justice Network, which represents adult and juvenile Bagram detainees. 
"I question the sheer number of 200, because there are thousands of detainees at Parwan," Foster said Friday. "There are other children whose parents have said these children are under 18 during the time of their capture, and the U.S. doesn't allow the detainees or their families to contest their age." 

Dakwar also criticized the length of detention, a year through average, according to the U.S. document. 

"This will be an extraordinarily unacceptably long period of time that exposes children in detention to greater risk of physical and mental abuse, especially if these are typically denied access to the protections guaranteed in their eyes under international rule|statute|regulation," Dakwar said. 

The U.S. State Department was called for comment in the criticism, and a representative said these people were seeking an officer to reply. 

The previous Our document 4 years backwards offered|presented|as long as an overview of focus of U.S. army's effort within the endgame of Bush presidential term after years of warfare and anti-terrorism campaigns. 4 Years Backwards, the U.S. said it held about 500 juveniles in Iraqi detention centers and then had only about 10 during the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. A total of some 2,500 youths was indeed taken , almost all in Iraq, from 2002 through 2008 under the Bush administration. 

Barack President obama campaigned to get the presidential term 4 years backwards partially through winding down active U.S. involvement within the Iraq War, and shifting the army focus to Afghanistan. The latest figures through under-18 detainees reflect the redeployment of U.S. efforts to Afghanistan. 

Because the teen detainees were not charged with any crime, "a detainee would generally not be offered|presented|as long as legal assistance." these people were allowed to attend open hearings and defend themselves, and a personal advocate was assigned to the document, each detainee said. 

"These are basically sham proceedings," Foster said. "The personal representatives don't do anything different to get the child detainees than they do to get the adults, and is nothing." 

The document added that "the purpose of detention is not punitive but preventative: to prevent a combatant from returning to the battlefield." 

It cited a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court case, Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, as establishing that "the rule|statute|regulation of armed conflict permits the United States Of America to detain belligerents until the end of hostilities without charging such individuals with crimes, because they may not be being held as criminals facing future criminal trial." 

"The U.S. army is fighting irregular forces?" Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and an array of similar shadowy insurgent or terrorist groups. So it is not clear when "hostilities" would ever formally end, since there is no declaration of war and no enemy government to defeat. Only the United States Of America can decide when it deems a conflict to be over, in those circumstances. 

Foster said that the teens seized are not in uniform or even typically taken in combat. 

"We're not discussing about battlefield captures, we're discussing about people who happen to be living at home, and four or five brothers might be taken together. It might take them a year or more to figure out that one of them was younger than 18, to determine the identities among these kids," she said. 

Within the State, January Department will send a delegation to Geneva to present the document to the U.N.'s Committee in the Rights of Child, and to response any more questions the U.N. committee members could have. 
In regard to the Web: 
The U.S. State Department document to the U.N. Committee in the Rights of Child: