Canada, The Taliban And The Geneva Convention


A minor brou-ha-ha has sprung up in Canuckistan regarding the status of Taliban prisoners and other assorted "detainees" taken by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. The official position given by the Canadian government is that while these people are in the custody of the CF, they will be afforded the treatment dictated for Prisoners Of War (PW), but will not be officially recognized as PW. The rationale is that they do not meet the criteria to be considered PW, but rather, if Afghani are rebels against a duly constitued and lawful government or if foreign nationals in Afghanistan are nothing more than terrorists. Once processed by the CF, all these folks are turned over to Afghan authorities. Apparently, our left-leaning opposition was opposed to our handing over detainees to the US (I'm sure the Afghan prisons are much nicer and respect human rights more than their US counterparts - the Taliban might want to send our lefties a thank-you note).

So, basically these folks are afforded the level of treatment dictated for PW, but simply do not meet the criteria to be considered PW and hence are not designated as PW. Seems pretty simple, and it is a policy I agree with.

Have similar discussions about detainees taken place in the UK/US/other nations regarding ops in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are most countries citizens as ill-informed about the Geneva Convention regarding PW as Canadians seem to be? What are the views of members here? Do you believe these detainees are PW or simply rebels/terrorists?
This has been discussed a lot of times, but main point against them being "real" PWs was that they dont wear a uniform or operate under a chain of command, they dont follow the geneva convention themselves and a few other reasons i forgot.

However the fact that we still take the moral high ground is one that i myself find pretty important in treating them if not as PoWs at least Relatively humanely (exceptions aside)
Think this has something to do with the Bonn agreement, the formation of ISAF and Aghan national sovereignty.

A lad who threw a grenade at the front gate of Camp Souter in April/May 2003 was interviewed by the RMP and then handed over to the Afghan Police very quickly (less than an hour?), although considering the Afghan cops were making jokes about car batteries and buckets of water, I think that the lad would have been better off held by the Brits.

I left theatre soon after, so can't confirm, but it looked like he was being treated more like a criminal than a PW. However, this was ISAF rather than coalition, and things may be different now.

Aren't they all held in the same places/conditions anyway (Pol-e-charki, Bagram)

Edited to clarify and add points
Though it is nice to hold the high ground i can't help but think that if a terrorist is caught being naughty then they should just be strung up from the nearest tree,or even as the nazis used to do,you kill one of us and we will execute 10 of you,of course i don't think the tree loving Canadians over here would like that,ther is a large movement over here that seem to think that Canadian Armed Forces should only be used for non hostile police actions,where the biggest danger is choking on a donut.A shame cause the Canadian armed Forces are a very proud and proffesional body.
An interesting question and believe me when I say that this one has been ping ponging backwards and forwards along the corridoors of NDHQ and Startop for a very long time. Do Canadians, and quite a number of other countries involved over there, want to get embroiled in the position our American friends find themselves in at the moment? Most definately not. The current policy dosn't appear to have fallen foul of some over zealous ANP bloke (with a ditch and AK) as yet, but only time will tell. Meanwhile it is surprising how reluctant most 'detainees' are when it comes to handover time!


Frankly, I couldn't care less how reluctant these sods are when they are to be turned over to the ANA/ANP. Especially when it comes to non-Afghanis. The lefties thought the Yanks were too harsh, so hey, it makes sense to turn them over to the lads that have had their country ripped apart by nearly 30 years of war.

As for Disneyland On The Rideau, I retired after 20 years of svc and still haven't seen a coherent decision emanate from it's hallowed halls. CF Transformation is actually my fave, since the CDS himself admits we will never be able to tell what the endstate is until after we got there and that we can only judge it's success in hindsight. Sort of like flinging yourself out of an aircraft and deciding whether or not you are a skydiver when you throw your hand behind your back to figure out if you have a parachute or not. Dolt.

Similar threads

Latest Threads