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Afghanistan

Volume 717: debated on Monday 1 March 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are held in detention in Afghanistan without charge or prospects of trial (a) by NATO forces, (b) by the Government of Iraq, and (c) by United States forces; and whether they will take steps towards creating review procedures. [HL2013]

UK Armed Forces are operating in a dangerous environment in Afghanistan. It is essential that they have the authority and capability to deal with individuals who pose a serious threat to UK and other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, the Afghan security forces as well as the local population.

ISAF, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led security and development mission in Afghanistan, is not responsible for charging or prosecuting detainees. ISAF forces are mandated to either transfer detainees to the Afghan Government for prosecution through their judicial system or release them. As a sovereign nation, responsibility for prosecution lies with the Government of Afghanistan. The question of how many prisoners detained without charge or prospects of trial by the Governments of Afghanistan and the US is a matter for those Governments to answer.

The London conference held on 28 January welcomed the Government of Afghanistan's determination to take on increasing responsibility for detentions. The UK will continue to work with the Afghan authorities to build capacity within their detention and judicial systems. The Government of Afghanistan will decide what review procedures should be put in place.