U.S. Set to Open New Afghan Prison

The Wall Street Journal
Alan Cullison
November 17, 2009

Pentagon Pledges Improved Transparency and Plans Open Hearings in a Move to ‘Increase Credibility’

Officials unveiled a new $60 million detention facility at the main U.S. air base in Afghanistan and promised greater transparency at a prison where Afghans have long suspected hundreds of their countrymen are being held for dubious reasons.

The new prison and the pledge to open the inmate review process come as the Department of Defense worries that abuses and militant recruiting within Afghan prisons are helping strengthen the Taliban. A Pentagon review earlier this year called for a broad overhaul of the Afghan penal system, as well as of the U.S.’s prison at Bagram Air Base.

The old Bagram prison is housed in a Soviet-era machinery hangar. Critics of the old prison, where two inmates died after being interrogated in 2002, have referred to it as “Obama’s Gitmo.” …