World News Brief, Wednesday October 12

UN report finds "systematic" torture of detainees in Afghanistan, including electric shocks, as NATO forces drawdown; After ten years in Afghanistan, US goals for the war remain unclear; Burma to free thousands of prisoners as US claims "dramatic developments" were underway; Investigations into Egypts Coptic clashes; Chinese stockmarket boosted by government intervention; Despite EU warnings, Ukraine jails former Prime Minister; and more

Top of the Agenda: UN Documents 'Systematic' Torture in Afghanistan

A United Nations report (PDF) accused the Afghan intelligence service and the Afghan National Police of systematically torturing detainees (NYT) in an effort to extract confessions and intelligence about the Taliban. The United States and NATO, which fund Afghanistan's detention centers, denied knowledge of the alleged abuses.

The UN's findings were based on interviews conducted between October 2010 and August 2011 with nearly four hundred pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners (al-Jazeera) at forty-seven detention centers throughout the country.

The UN alleges that Afghan forces employed controversial interrogation tactics, included brutal beatings and electric shocks (LAT).

The report comes as NATO forces drawdown (WashPost) from the ten-year Afghanistan war, while continuing to hand over responsibilities to Afghan forces.


The war in Afghanistan began ten years ago as a narrow, modest war of necessity but has evolved into a broad, ambitious war of choice, CFR President Richard N. Haass writes in TIME.

After a decade of fighting, US goals remain unclear in Afghanistan. With the 2014 deadline to end the combat mission, experts remain divided on hopes for a political settlement, and stress political and governance reforms, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.

Stanley A. McChrystal, former commander of the United States and International Security Assistance Forces Afghanistan discusses his experiences in Afghanistan during a meeting at CFR.



Burma to Free Thousands of Prisoners

Burma's government said it would release over six thousand "prisoners of conscience," though declined to say how many would be political prisoners. The United States, which imposes sanctions on Burma, said "dramatic developments" (Guardian) were taking place in the country.

CHINA: The country's state-run sovereign wealth fund (Bloomberg) bought shares in the country's biggest banks, which have been caught in a sell-off, boosting China's stocks for the first time in five days.



Egypt's army to investigate clashes with Copts

Opium production rises in Afghanistan

Orange revolution leader jailed, despite warnings


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on