NEW YORK, (AP) – The U.S. military is looking to revamp its beleaguered American-run prison system in Afghanistan, according to a published report.
The development is in response to concerns over detainee abuse and the military’s belief that the Taliban is recruiting militants in the prisons, the New York Times reported Monday.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent a confidential message last week to all of the military service chiefs and senior field commanders asking them to redouble their efforts to alert troops to the importance of treating detainees properly.
Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone of the Marines was credited with a successful overhaul of the American detention practices in Iraq and is entrusted with reviewing detention details in Afghanistan.
General Stone’s report has not been made public. It’s being read by senior American officials, and recommends separating extremist militants from more moderate detainees, two American officials who have read or been briefed on his report told The Times.
Plans call for the United States to finance and construct a new Afghan-run prison for the extremists. These prisoners are using the Afghan corrections system as a camp to train other inmates to become deadly militants, the American officials said.
The remaining inmates are to be taught vocational skills and offered other classes. They would also be taught about moderate Islam with the intent of releasing them into society, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the review’s findings had not been released publicly.
The recommendations coincide with American officials’ fears that overcrowded Afghan-run prisons will be overwhelmed by groups of new prisoners captured in the American-led offensive in southern Afghanistan, a place where thousands of Marines are battling Taliban fighters.