A graphic video apparently showing Afghan police abusing a detainee has caused a furore in and shed light on some of the brutal methods security forces have been known to apply in the fight against the Taliban.
, which is undated and appears to have been filmed on a mobile phone, a man whose hands are bound behind his back is tied to a police vehicle and dragged about 30 metres along the road. Police officers then proceed to beat the detainee, and one officer bites the man’s arm and shakes him.
In social media posts the detainee has been described as a would-be suicide bomber. It was not possible to verify his identity or alleged crime.
The video was apparently filmed in southern Kandahar, which is under the command of General Abdul Raziq, a notorious police chief who has previously been accused of torture and murder, allegations he has denied.
It is unclear whether the police in the video were acting on Raziq’s orders, and his office was not available for comment. The Kandahar governor’s spokesman, Tamim Akhpalwak, said the video was a fake.
Abdullah Abdullah, the government’s chief executive, said that the interior ministry would investigate the incident and punish those involved.
Last year Human Rights Watch several Kandahar residents who claimed Raziq’s men had tortured them. The “systemic use of torture” by Afghan police, particularly in Kandahar where 44% of interviewed detainees spoke of torture or mistreatment.
Stories of brutality at the hands of government forces are common, but it is rare for video showing such behaviour to become public.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said it had previously warned the Afghan government about Raziq’s methods. However, perhaps concerned that security in Kandahar would deteriorate without Raziq, the government failed to act, said the commission’s head of investigation, Qais Bawari.
He said police beatings and torture undermined the legitimacy of the government and helped the Taliban to recruit.