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Elite US unit in Afghanistan concealed abuse, killing of detainees: LA Times

[JURIST] A US Special Forces team in Afghanistan allegedly abused and killed two detainees in their custody and then coordinated their stories so that superior officers in the chain of command never discovered the incidents, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. One detainee was allegedly shot to death after he was interrogated by Special Forces team members about an intense battle that the detainee witnessed but did not participate in. The other detainee, an 18-year-old Afghan soldier whose corpse showed signs of abuse, also died following a special forces interrogation. No formal charges have been filed in respect of either incident. Other Afghan detainees who were held at the Gardez base [Globalsecurity.org backgrounder] alleged they were beaten by Special Forces members. UPI has more.

In August, a federal jury sitting in Raleigh, North Carolina found CIA contractor David Passaro guilty of abusing a detainee in Afghanistan [JURIST report] who later died in US custody. Eleven US soldiers were charged in 2005 in connection with the deaths of two other prisoners within days of one another in December 2002. Of those, two pleaded guilty and served short sentences before being dishonorably discharged, one was convicted but spared a prison sentence, five were acquitted and three had the charges against them ultimately dropped [JURIST report]. Saturday's Times report said that the newspaper's review of thousands of pages of internal military records showed that "prisoner abuse by Special Forces units was more common in Afghanistan than previously acknowledged." The Los Angeles Times has more.

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