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U.S. probes allegations of Afghan prison abuse

Investigation follows police officer's claim of mistreatment


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(CNN) -- The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan confirmed Saturday that a second investigation has been initiated into allegations of detainee abuse at the hands of U.S. jailers.

In an opening statement at a news conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul, coalition officials said the latest accusations came to light Thursday.

"Coalition leaders were notified of another allegation of detainee abuse. Upon notification, coalition forces launched an immediate investigation into this matter," the statement said, but provided no details.

The revelation comes amid an investigation of prisoner abuse at the hands of U.S. military personnel at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, and the alleged mistreatment of an Afghan police officer while he was in the custody of coalition forces.

Pictures of Iraqi detainees being mistreated by U.S. forces have sparked condemnation around the world. (Full story)

Seven U.S. soldiers have been charged with abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Three of the soldiers face arraignments Thursday for general courts-martial, used for felony-level offenses. A fourth soldier faces a special court-martial -- the military equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor court -- Wednesday.

At a conference Saturday in Amman, Jordan, Secretary of State Colin Powell told dignitaries from around the world that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners "shocked all Americans" and was "inconsistent with the values that we uphold."

In a speech to the World Economic Forum, Powell vowed that as the government responds to the abuse, "You are about to see American democracy in action."

Powell also asked world leaders not to lose sight of the "thousands of acts of kindness and courage" that U.S. soldiers have exhibited in Iraq and around the world.

"It shocked us because we knew how it would affect the region," Powell said. He added that people would look at the photos of prisoner abuse and wonder "'Is this the America that we believed in, whose value system we have looked at and admired for so many years?'

The U.S. military announced changes in its detention and interrogation policies in Iraq and Afghanistan on Friday. They include banning sleep and sensory deprivation, and keeping prisoners in stressful positions.

Lt. Gen. David Barno, who leads the Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan, confirmed he is "in the midst of putting out some new policy guidance" to underscore a mandate of "treating all of our detainees with dignity and respect."

He said the new policy guidance is intended to "make sure those rules are enforced across all our operations in Afghanistan."

On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan announced that the military was investigating the alleged mistreatment of an Afghan police colonel while in the custody of coalition forces.

The officer says he was stripped naked, photographed, kicked and subjected to sexual taunting while being held by coalition forces in August, according to an embassy statement. (Full story)

Barno, speaking at a policy forum in Washington, said a newspaper's report of mistreatment of the Afghan police colonel in U.S. custody was the "first indication" he had of any problems among detainees.


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