While much of the debate about Afghanistan here in the States has been focused on how to adjust the U.S.’s war strategy, the latest video from the Rethink Afghanistan project takes a look at the other side of the equation by talking to Afghan citizens about their hopes for the future.
The general sentiment among the Afghans interviewed is that they want the fighting to end. “We wish there would be no more bloodshed in Afghanistan,” says one of the men featured in the video.
By Ryan Grim at Huffington Post
Abdul Raqeeb, a former prisoner held for two years by US forces in Afghanistan, is speaking out against his brutalization at the hands of his captors.
The International Justice Network, in papers filed in an effort to free Raqeeb, charge that his “custodians have subjected him to acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and outrages upon his personal dignity.”
Raqeeb was released without explanation, on August 13, 2009, from a military prison in Bagram that continues to hold hundreds of Afghans without charges.
Now freed, Raqeeb recounted his experience in a new video interview with Brave New Foundation’s project Rethink Afghanistan.
Raqeeb, whose brother Noor was also taken but released after a much shorter period, is telling his story just as President Obama is reportedly preparing to announce an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which polls show a majority of Americans believe is not worth fighting.
Obama is expected to announce his decision next week. Due to a scheduling conflict, he bumped his decision up on the calendar — the week after next, he is flying to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Price.
The Washington Post delicately described the contradiction as one of a series of “public relations challenges if they happened too close to the presentation of an expanded war effort.”
Obama, noted the paper, “likely wanted as many days as possible between the troops announcement and the date in mid-December when he is to travel to Oslo to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.”
Watch Raqeeb and his brother tell their story:
The Obama administration has promised to begin moving the 700 odd men held in the Bagram prison in Afghanistan into a new 60 million dollar facility by next month. But in a video released by Brave New Films, two men who were held in the notorious detention center ask how much of a difference this will make when its unclear why people were arrested in the first place. The two brothers Abdel and Noor Raqeeb, say they were held without formal charges, tortured, only to be released with an apology for being mistaken for Taliban spokesperson.
Abdel Raqeeb was released this August after being detained for 2 years and allegedly tortured. Upon his release he was told he had been mistaken for a Taliban spokesman. His brother Noor Raqeeb imprisoned for 10 days in 2007 was told he too had been picked up on the same mistaken assumption.
The Obama administration has promised to begin moving the 700 odd men held in the Bagram prison in Afghanistan into a new 60 million dollar facility by next month. But in a video released by Brave New Films today, two men who were held in the notorious detention center ask how much of a difference this will make when its unclear why people were arrested in the first place.
Abdel Raqeeb was released this August after being detained for 2 years and allegedly tortured. Upon his release he was told he had been mistaken for a Taliban spokesman. His brother Noor Raqeeb imprisoned for 10 days in 2007 was told he too had been picked up on the same mistaken assumption. The brothers were interviewed by filmmaker Anita Sreedhar last month.
Matthew Hoh and Daniel Ellsberg recently sat down for a conversation about the war in Afghanistan.
Matthew Hoh made headlines late last month when he resigned from the U.S. State Department. Hoh, 36, became the first known U.S. official to resign in protest over the war in Afghanistan. Ellsberg, gained notoriety in 1971, after he leaked parts of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times as part of an effort to end the Vietnam War, a war that he argued was “a wrongful war.”
Below are two clips from Hoh and Ellsberg’s exchange documented by Brave New Films.
Both wonder what the US is doing in Afghanistan, arguing that American hubris is one of the things keeping the country from learning the lessons of the Soviets’ War in Afghanistan.
Former CIA officer and author Robert Baer argues that “Afghanistan is a quagmire that everyone wants us in,” in a new video segment from the Brave New Foundation’s “Rethink Afghanistan” project.
Baer observes that Russia and Iran are seeking expansion and are happy that US troops are stuck in Afghanistan, whilst it is in Al Qaeda’s interests for the US to be in a war where Muslim civilian casualties are unavoidable.
“Afghanistan is making us more unsafe,” he says.