According to Jon Stephenson in this morning’s Sunday Star-Times the SAS soldiers realise they are in for a tougher time in Afghanistan this time around.
However, it is still not entirely clear what will happen to any prisoners our SAS hands over to the Afghan authorities. Jon Stephenson says Afghanistan has now promised, in writing, that prisoners transferred by New Zealand forces will not be mistreated or tortured and will not face the death penalty.
One can’t help being suspicious because, according to Jon Stephenson, Afghanistan only signed ‘on condition the existence of the agreement and its details were suppressed.’
Perhaps the secrecy is to avoid embarrassment when the Afghan authorities don’t live up to their written promise. The UN Human Rights Council, in a report in February this year, says that ‘torture, degradation and violent behaviours still continue in some of the [Afghan] detention centres.’
I will be try to get to the bottom of this in Written Parliamentary Questions to the Defence Minister this week.