'The Canadians saw with their own eyes' - Macleans.ca

‘The Canadians saw with their own eyes’


A former Afghan prison warden talks to Canwest.

Some Taliban prisoners who were transferred two or three years ago to Sarpoza Prison by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security bore signs that they had been tortured, the former warden told Canwest News Service on Monday. But Canadian soldiers went to great lengths to try to ensure that prisoners who they had detained and handed over to the NDS were not abused, said Abdul Qadar Khan Popal.

“At the time, John, from the Canadian side, was looking after prisoners that were in NDS custody and was always complaining to the NDS because the prisoners had told him they were tortured,” Popal said. “He tried to bring them out of NDS custody and into Sarpoza as quickly as he could because he understood the situation.

“The Canadians saw with their own eyes and asked the prisoners if they had any complaints. The Canadians minded very strongly when the prisoners complained and advised us not to mistreat anyone. The explained to us about human rights and told us how to treat prisoners, especially political ones.”


‘The Canadians saw with their own eyes’

  1. This confirms what I believe to be true about our Forces – that they are concerned about fighting for the freedoms and rights of all, equally. In a sea of venom about prisoner transfers, I sincerely hope that the stance reportedly taken by that particular troop was the norm, notwithstanding the formal positioning – or lack thereof – of our politicians.

    • Yes it appears that individual soldiers were concerned about such things – as we would expect of good Canadian boys (and girls). But the structures that needed to be set up to ensure that there was follow-up on these transferees was lacking. THAT is a demonstration of a slack job by organisers of the mission (military and political), including the former CDS Hillier, who, if it's true had never heard of such concerns, simply hadn't been reading his briefs.

  2. Once again, government apparatchiks and NDHQ brass appear to have let down the people on the ground. Quelle surprise.

    This presents a clear "teachable moment" for all CPC 'bots and Harperoids: for all their "Support-the-Troops" bluster, they often forget that our military is still an opaque, top-heavy bureaucracy ridden with unaccountable dead-wood generals and colonels who've never heard a shot fired in anger but who've turned passing the buck into an art form. Harper's done nothing to change this culture of irresponsible entitlement and has, in fact, done much to deepen it.

    Rest assured that low-ranking scapegoats will be found to take the fall for this fiasco if Harper ever comes to be persuaded that some token butt needs to be kicked.

  3. Colvin never accused the soldiers on the ground.

    • Nope, just the Liberals did that.

  4. Bad news for the Liberals, our troops aren't the monsters they try and make them out as.

    • Dakota, that's pathetic. No one ever accused the troops of participating in this.

      • I'm pretty sure it was Canadian troops that did the handing over of Taliban prisoners and not officials. The Liberals are accusing them of knowingly handing over prisoners that were going to be tortured.

        That is as low as it gets. Villainizing our own troops to score political points is bottom of the barrel.

        • Speaking for myself, I doubt that this will get the Cons more votes. The only people left who get swayed by this type of reasoning/instigation most likely already vote Cons.

        • Nice try, Dakota, but everybody knows that your boy Stevie's dirty little fingers are all over this, and it won't take the forensic skills of CSI Miami to prove it.

        • Ralph Goodale: "After four years of denials, he now admits that he did in fact receive and read at least one of Richard Colvin's reports. He also admits that at least part of Colvin's story has been corroborated by the Red Cross, the Canadian ambassador and the Canadian Forces."

          David McGuinty: "We owe a public inquiry to our troops, to our diplomats, to our development workers, to our partners. We owe it to Canadians. What exactly happened here? Who received and read copies of the reports? How many times has the government publicly denied that there was a problem? It goes on and on. While our troops are fighting for openness and transparency in Afghanistan, why is the government undermining those very values here at home?"

          That's Hansard. They're not accusing the troops. They're accusing the government.

        • You find me a quote where any Liberal politician has said that, Dakota.

    • WHEN have the Liberals ever alleged that?

      • Have you read Wherry's 60 latest blogs?

        • You obviously can't read very well.

        • I think the worst that can be said of Canadian troops is that they handed over prisoners knowing that there was no way to properly follow up on them. But that's the fault of the 'higher ups' who set up these frameworks – not of the soldiers themselves.
          It is nothing short of wanton, cheap and deliberate political smear to beleive the Liberals of blaming Canadian soldiers of anything.