The U.S. struggles to draw the line on interrogation
By Douglas Birch in the Baltimore Sun
Last year on an Afghan mountainside near the Pakistan border, a group of U.S. paratroopers on patrol spotted a 14-year-old hiding a cache of weapons and explosives. In the presence of a Sun reporter, they forced the boy to kneel on the rocky ground and put all his weight on his knees for an hour while heavily armed soldiers angrily questioned him.
Several times, the boy grimaced from the pain, closed his eyes and tottered, looking as though he were ready to faint. But he never admitted hiding weapons, even as soldiers scouring nearby caves stacked rockets, rifles and thousands of bullets in the dust nearby.
The weapons could have been used in deadly attacks. But the paratroopers were clearly uneasy about inflicting pain to leverage information, and – although they threatened to arrest their suspect – finally released the teenager with a warning. He was, as one said, “just a boy.”