The Board of Inquiry report

The BOI report into the incident of June 14, 2006 is available here. The following is parts E and F of the findings.

The Board found that by virtue of his personal and professional readings, the multitude of rumours the 3 Section Commander had heard within Task Force ORION and his own direct observations of the casual violence with which the Kandahar City Afghan National Police went about their duties, he was predisposed to think the worst of the Afghan National Police, especially those for whom he had already formed a low opinion [REDACTED]. The Section Commander genuinely believed that the Afghan National Police had assaulted prisoners in the past. The Board also found that despite all the innuendo and chat about Afghan National Security Forces prisoner abuse, the Section Commander had nothing but rumours by way of evidence to conclude that there was systemic Afghan National Police prisoner abuse.

The Board also found that in the opinion of those Canadian Forces members who had the opportunity to work with them, the level of reliability and professionalism of the Afghan National Security Forces in general, and that of the Afghan National Police in particular, was low. For some specific groups of Afghan National Police, the levels were even worse. The practice of corporal punishments being meted out on apparent whim in the street and elsewhere was common and was observed and commented upon by most Canadian Forces members. Corruption and bribery were also observed. Specific abuse of prisoners in general was not observed by Canadian Forces members (other than the 14 June 2006 incident), though the casual violence of the cultural practices of the country in general applied to the Afghan National Security Forces and its prisoners generally. All Canadian Forces members felt there was a professional obligation to help mentor the Afghan National Security Force with whom they worked to help in the process of professionalizing them.

More from the Canadian Press, CanwestCBC, CTV and Reuters. At the end of the news conference announcing the release of this report, a Radio-Canada reporter pursued—better than I had moments earlier—this distinction between “direct observations of casual violence” and “specific abuse of prisoners” with Rear-Admiral P.A. Maddison.

Q. From what I’ve heard from you is that it was common knowledge at that time, and maybe it’s not specific to that event, but in general knowledge at that time, that if you transfer somebody to the Afghan forces or to the Afghan police, it’s likely they could be mistreated? Do you agree with that impression?

A. No. Talking to the soldiers on the ground, who provided sworn evidence, what they told us was they believed it was a cultural norm for Afghan National Police or Afghan authorities to offer sort of minor forms of violence to Afghan citizens, but there was never any direct observation or any expectation amongst our folks that we could see in the evidence that was provided that they would expect detainees transferred to the ANA or the ANP to be abused. There was no evidence that we took.

Q. But it was common knowledge that they mistreated the detai—, they could beat somebody and they noticed that the detainee in that case specifically was mistreated though.

A. But in this case. This was the first instance of Canadian Forces observing a detainee being abused in any way. And as I’ve already described, this was, the injuries were minor. He was beaten with a shoe, which was a form of cultural insult.