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25 Mar, 2010 06:22

US plans to create another Guantanamo in Afghanistan

The US is considering holding international terror suspects at its Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. If approved, the facility north of Kabul could essentially become a new Guantanamo Bay.

Currently the US administration is struggling with the task of relocating over 180 inmates still held at Guantanamo.But the Bagram solution is being opposed by a number of senior officials in Washington, including the top commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan. They fear it could jeopardize stabilization efforts in the country.The new facility will be no different from Guantanamo Bay in terms of prisoner abuse, believes Jonathan Hafetz from the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents detainees.“The Obama administration so far unfortunately seems to be more focused on the image, the association of Guantanamo without actually ending the real problems of Guantanamo – indefinite detention, using second-class systems of justice like military commissions rather than ordinary courts. That's the whole problem with Guantanamo: when you set up a prison outside the law you enable things like torture,” Hafetz told RT. “We still have a fundamental problem, which is that we are holding people indefinitely without charge, without trial going on eight-nine years now – something is that beyond the pale and violates our Constitution on basic human rights standards.”Jake Diliberto from Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan goes further in his cautions, saying expanding the Bagram facility could even pose a serious threat to the US.“Bagram has been a place where the United States has taken prisoners into and held as a part of the occupation of Afghanistan. The problem of that is that there have been a lot of people that have been held there accidentally who perhaps didn't necessarily need to be there," Dileberto told RT. "If Bagram is expanded, two things are going to happen simultaneously. Provincial reconstruction teams, that's being done by civilian contractors, are going to slow or stop because they are going to get pulled in to expand the Bagram base, and the second thing entire American sentiment is going to skyrocket. These two problems are huge security threat.”