The US military said it has captured more than 200 Afghan juveniles, whose average age is 16, and held them prisoner for about one year without charging them for any crimes.
A report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that more than 200 detainees under the age of 18 were held at a military prison at the Detention Facility in Parwan for being characterized as “enemy combatants”.
The teens had not been charged with any crimes, but were each held for an average of one year for the sole purpose of preventing “a combatant from returning to the battlefield”, the report said. Since they were not charged for any crimes, the detainees were not provided any legal assistance and could only defend themselves at open hearings.
Most of the teens were captured while they were not in uniform – and many were seized from their homes.
“We’re not talking about battlefield captures, we’re talking about people who are living at home, and four or five brothers might be taken together,” Tina M. Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, told the Associated Press. “It might take them a year or more to figure out that one of them was younger than 18, to determine the identities of these kids.”