HamKar wants to run his own prisons: Karzai Demands Transfer of US Military Prison to Afghan Control.
He couldn’t have forgotten his own government’s incompetence in running prisons. Over 500 prisoners escaped an Afghan-run Kandahar prison in 2011 by digging a 300-meter tunnel! And that was when his brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, was running the province. Maybe Ahmad’s death was partial payment for the ineptitude.
Karzai is now insisting upon the transfer of the Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP) since “his government had evidence that Afghan law and prisoners’ human rights were being violated at the prison” according to the New York Times. The New York Times documents the problems Afghan prisons have as compared to the American run ones:
The coalition has longstanding plans to turn over the prison to Afghan authorities, along with control over all detainees, but the timing has remained uncertain because of delays in training Afghan guards to run the facility and because of concerns about widespread torture and other abuses in Afghan-run prisons.
In contrast, independent Afghan and Western human rights advocates have documented relatively humane conditions at the American prison since it opened in late 2009, replacing an older facility that was plagued by abuses. Even so, there have been persistent complaints about arbitrary detentions and a lack of due process at the new prison — problems that are pervasive in the Afghan prison system as well.
Abuses, torture, escapes–what’s the big deal? Since HamKar is seeking a “creative solution to staying in office” (although ineligible for re-election) such capabilities might prove beneficial.
Even in Afghanistan, there are other, non-mutually exclusive, alternatives. Clinton advisor Paul Begala expressed the simplicity with which American Presidents side-step the U.S. Constitution with the comment, “Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Pretty cool.” Would we expect the Afghan Constitution to be any more difficult to push aside? The Afghan right equivalent would be, “Call a loya Jirga, receive a blessing.”
Controlling the torture chambers, er–prisons, wouldn’t hurt though.
Then again, if human rights violations are true at the American-run prisons, maybe Karzai is just upset that he isn’t the perpetrator.