Documenting Detention Procedures Will Help Ensure Counter-Narcotics Justice Center Is Utilized As Intended
SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION ARLINGTON VA
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Last month SIGAR issued a report discussing delays in the construction of a new detention facility at the 11 million U.S.-funded Counter-Narcotics Justice Center in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Center is a secure facility that houses Afghanistans Criminal Justice Task Force, consisting of Afghan prosecutors and investigators, and Central Narcotics Tribunal, which has exclusive nationwide jurisdiction over significant narcotics cases. SIGAR is concerned that the current detention facility at the Center may not be utilized as intended. Specifically, during a July 2009 site visit to the Center, SIGAR auditors noted that all the detention cells were occupied by low-profile detainees, whereas, according to State and Justice Department officials, the Center was built with the intention of housing mid- and high-profile drug traffickers. Because it was filled with low-profile detainees, the Center did not have any available detention cells to hold mid- and high-profile drug traffickers. Further, SIGAR is concerned that the new detention facility, once constructed, may also become filled with low-profile prisoners, rather than the high-value targets for whom the Center was designed. This could have a negative effect on the ability of the Criminal Justice Task Force to investigate major narcotics offenders and the Central Narcotics Tribunal to prosecute them. In commenting on a draft of this report, Justice and State officials stated that procedures are in place to handle high-volume criminals on a case-by-case basis. However, these procedures have not been formalized or documented. We recommended expediting the construction of the new detention facility in order to accommodate additional drug-related detainees. During the course of the audit, we identified a separate but related issue warranting action.
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