Two defense contractors indicted in shooting of Afghans

Two defense contractors indicted in shooting of Afghans

Two defense contractors working for a subsidiary of the former Blackwater Worldwide were charged with shooting and killing two Afghan citizens in Kabul and wounding a third, prosecutors said Thursday, the first slayings linked to the firm in that country and its latest legal blow.

Justin Cannon, 27, and Christopher Drotleff, 29, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Norfolk on murder and other charges in the May 5 shootings, in which the men opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on a car that they said they thought was trying to run them down. The indictment was unsealed Thursday.

At the time of the shootings, the men were Pentagon contractors employed by Paravant LLC, a Blackwater subsidiary that specializes in firearms training. They were in Afghanistan to train that country’s army in using and maintaining weapons systems and were transporting two Afghan translators at the time of the incident, their attorney said. [continued…]

U.S. military investigates allegations of detainee abuse in Afghanistan

The U.S. military has begun investigating allegations that two Afghan teenagers were beaten and humiliated by guards while in American custody last year at a secret detention center at Bagram air base, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

U.S. military officials took statements from the teenagers last month and are contacting others who say they were held at what Afghans call Bagram’s “black prison,” a detention center run by U.S. Special Operations forces. This classified facility is separate from the main prison at Bagram, which holds about 700 detainees.

The two teenagers — Issa Mohammad, then 17, and Abdul Rashid, who said he was younger than 16 — described austere living conditions and rough treatment while undergoing extensive daily interrogations about their alleged links to the Taliban. [continued…]

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