more evidence of canada's shameful involvement in afghanistan: children transferred to authorities known to torture

How long will Canadians continue to believe that its military are the "good guys" of war?

How long will Canada be forced to continue its involvement in Afghanistan, despite the majority view that the war is wrong and must end?

How long will this minority government - aided by the so-called "leader" of the "opposition" - impose its views on the majority?

Look at this story: Canadian Forces have been handing over children to authorities known to use torture. Could anything be clearer?

And should there be any surprise, when one considers how Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen and once a child soldier, has been abandoned by this government?

Canada, get out of Afghanistan!

The Canadian Forces have for years arrested children suspected of working with the Taliban and handed them over to an Afghan security unit accused of torture, CBC News has learned.

Allegations that militants captured by Canada were transferred to Afghan forces and later tortured were hotly debated in Parliament last fall.

A document obtained by the CBC's investigative unit shows that Canadian soldiers captured children as well in the fight against the Taliban, and that many of them were transferred to the custody of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, or NDS.

The document, obtained under an Access to Information request and marked "secret," shows that Defence Minister Peter MacKay was briefed on the topic of juvenile detainees in Afghanistan March 30.

The "Canadian eyes only" note informs MacKay of how many children suspected of "participating in the insurgency" have been arrested by Canadian Forces and how many of them have been transferred into Afghan custody in the previous four years.

The note also shows that an undisclosed number of juvenile detainees were being kept in a Canadian transfer facility at Kandahar Air Field for "a significant period."

The numbers in all cases, however, were blacked out.

Human rights lawyer Paul Champ called the briefing note "troubling."

"Juveniles have been in Canadian Forces custody for a significant period of time," Champ said. "That's very troubling. I'm surprised by that.

"Are they talking about a week, or are they talking about two weeks or a month or longer? Kandahar Airfield is no place for children."

The briefing note alerts MacKay that the media could soon begin paying closer attention to the issue of juvenile detainees in Afghanistan once they got wind of a change in policy that called for the Canadian Forces to send captured children to a new facility, the Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre in Kandahar, instead of the Sarpoza prison.

"This may draw attention to the role of juveniles in the Afghan conflict," the minister was told.

And while the March 2010 briefing note suggests the government was "likely" to post information about the new facility on its website, that did not happen until Oct. 28, the same day the CBC received the briefing note through the Access to Information Act.

"International law is dead clear that when a person is under 18 and in the hands of the Canadian military, the Canadian military must seek to take that person out of the conflict," he said.

"You can't treat them like an insurgent. You have to treat them as a child who's been forced into war against their will."

CBC News has also learned that Canadian Forces policy dictates that juveniles — defined as all prisoners under the age of 18 — are to be routed through the NDS.

One international report after another has cited the NDS's rough treatment of children, including a United Nations report issued in April.

"The use of harsh interrogation techniques [on children] and forced confession of guilt by the Afghan National Police and the National Directorate of Security was documented," according to the UN report. The report is silent on which countries detained those children.

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