Tuesday, May 18, 2004

What kind of effect is the prisoner-abuse scandal having in Afghanistan? Well, according to Der Spiegel magazine, German military lawyers have advised Special "KSK" Forces not to take any prisoners as to avoid handing them over to the Americans. The magazine quoted military lawyers as there being "too many open questions" about the status of prisoners in the wake of the scandal at Abu Graib. So now the culprits of Abu Graib (it's up to you to decide whether these culprits are the seven guards facing court marshall or senior officials of the Department of Defense) are not only responsible for the abuse and torture of POWs in Baghdad, but also for hindering progress in our attempts to catch members of al-Qaeda, Taliban and Gulbuddin's Hezb-i-Islami. Nice job, guys.

Note: I'm not quite sure whether the Germans are making a distinction between German soldiers fighting under the Operating Enduring Freedom (OEF) umbrella and that of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It's quite significant because German OEF forces operate outside of Kabul, usually alongside the Afghan-Pakistani border (where else?). ISAF forces on the other hand operate only in Kabul and in Kunduz, where the Germans have a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

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