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US soldier in custody after death of Taliban prisoner
  Wednesday 20 October, 2010
US soldier in custody after death of Taliban prisoner

KABUL: A US soldier is in custody following the death of a Taliban prisoner from apparent gunshot wounds, the US military said Wednesday.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai Tuesday ordered an investigation into the death, saying the man may have been “killed by coalition troops”.

The US army has launched a criminal investigation into the death and has pledged to keep the Afghan government informed of its findings.

The insurgent was being held temporarily at an Afghan government centre under US guard in Arghandab district, in southern Kandahar province, when his body was discovered on Sunday.

The detainee, captured on Saturday during an operation in Arghandab district, and was known to be a senior leader of the local Taliban network. He was awaiting transfer to full Nato custody, the US military statement said.

“The US takes very seriously any mistreatment of detainees,” said Rear Admiral Greg Smith, a US military spokesman. “Our forces are trained to uphold the rights of persons in custody and any violation of those rights are fully investigated.”

The US army has launched a criminal investigation into the death and has pledged to keep the Afghan government up to speed with its findings.

The probe comes just days after the Pentagon rejected allegations from a US think tank that it mistreated insurgent detainees at a secret prison in Afghanistan.

The US military has been under the scrutiny of rights groups for years after revelations of abuse at prisons in Iraq and at CIA “black sites”, and in the light of controversy over the military jail at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Isaf said Monday there were no secret prisons in Afghanistan.

“The United States forces in Afghanistan are running a detention facility in Bagram and this is the only detention facility in the country,” spokesman Brigadier General Josef Blotz told reporters.

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