December 15th, 2009
10:02 AM ET

Taliban allows Red Cross to visit detainees for 1st time

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - For the first time, the Taliban has allowed Red Cross workers to check the conditions of its detainees in Afghanistan.

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced today that its team recently visited three Afghan security forces being held by the Taliban in the northwestern province of Badghis. A small Red Cross team visited the detained Afghan security forces twice in late November, the agency said.

The ICRC says it regularly visits detained people in conflict zones to assess their conditions and treatment, including 136 places of detention in Afghanistan. But last month's visit marked the first time the Taliban allowed the agency access to its detainees since the start of the current conflict in Afghanistan.

"We plan to conduct and repeat visits in other regions, and hope to visit people held by other armed opposition groups, with the aim of ensuring that everyone detained in relation to the armed conflict is treated humanely," said Reto Stocker, head of the ICRC's delegation in Kabul.

The Red Cross did not release information on the detainees' conditions or when they were seized by the Taliban "to protect their identity," ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno told CNN.

The Red Cross will not inform the Afghan government of the captured forces' condition as a matter of standard policy, he said.

"When we carry out visits and submit reports ... this is done only with the detaining authority, which is the Taliban," Schorno said. He noted that the same policy was carried out during Red Cross visits to detainees at the U.S. military's facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Taliban
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Larry

    How come the Red Cross hasn't done anything with the Americans that are still in Vietnam??? I didn't have respect with Them now & sure don't have any now!!!

    January 26, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bigredandtulips

    Great PR for the Taliban, especially for their local audience. No reports, no names to other than the Taliban is sad. If the Taliban really wants positive PR, they would release the reports, unabridged. I am not trying to get positive PR for them just thinking of the families suffering, waiting to know the status of loved ones. I don't think this move is going to buy them any new support globally. God bless the folks from the Red Cross who are willing to enter such hostile zones to check on the detainees.

    December 29, 2009 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Vellies

    The most interesting part of this report about the IRC having visited prisoners of the Taliban in Afghanistan is the fact that such a visit could take place. It means that the Taliban control areas inside Afganistan to such an extent that not only do they have proper prisons under their full control there, but they can receive, escort and oversee visits by the IRC WITHOUT THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT AND ALL ITS ALLIES ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, and without fear that such a visit will lead to the government and its allies being able to locate it. This means that the extent of the area under Taliban control is far bigger than I, for one, thought possible. If this is not a wake-up call to the powers-that-be in Kabul and Washington, I don't know what is....

    December 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HAHAHA!

    Keep on posting comments, it's doing a great job of actually solving things!

    December 26, 2009 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Duke

    I can't believe people are bashing the ICRC for this. God bless them for risking thier lives to visit these prisoners.

    December 26, 2009 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Felecia

    Hidden agenda or not on the part of the Taliban, the ICRC was simply doing what it was intended to do. The comments seem to steer directly to the fact that they are Taliban prisoners. While i strongly disagree with what the taliban is doing, i commend the ICRC for risking their lives to ensure that the 3 captured Afghan Security Forces were treated, or at least looked at. They have given these 3 hope in a very dark time for them,

    December 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Curtis

    I speak from a position of experience. I was an American guard at a detainment facility in Iraq. The ICRC is a great organization. They sure don't go telling Al Quida or the Tali Ban where we hold our detainees. So why would they tell us where they are holding our boys. (yes even the Afgan security forces are our boys.) It is not thier duty to tell us anything! That goes against what they are all about. Think for just a minute, if you can..... If they would have told Al-Quida or the Tali Ban where we hold thier boys, they would do thier best to come and get them, mounting huge attacks, and causing casualties. If the did that they would be causing death. The ICRC does its best to preserve life where they can. Giving out information to either side just escalates the conflict. And if some of you really think that the ICRC should be helping people get out of detainment. I would again like to remind you of the THOUSANDS of detainees coalition forces hold. I have looked many of them in the face, several have even tried to kill me with a peice of concrete. Would you like them to be released? You really have to think about the neutrality of the group. If ICRC should help our boys escape, or be rescued, They would have to do the same for our enemys. GOOD GOD AMERICANS! THINK!!! Thats why out of the nine countries I have been in, we are not considered intelectuals, or even inteligent anymore!

    December 25, 2009 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Douglas from Portland

    When I was stationed in the US Army in the then 'West Germany' in 1982 I gave blood to the German 'Rot Kruez' (Red Cross). For my giving blood they gave me a very nice package that included a small bottle of champaigne and an almost indestructible card that showed the date I gave blood. This card entitled my whole family to receive free blood if needed for a whole year (up to a certain amount). In the US no such gifts are given. The thank you is as nice as the cookie but vielen dank für die blumen (many thanks for the flowers... they are pretty but they don't live long and don't help any).
    I think Americans (or United Statesians at least) have for a long time been given the short end of the stick in dealing with the Red Cross. I give exclusively to the Salvation Army who helps many people and would never have dealt with the taliban who must have a hidden agenda to have the red cross allow the prisoners any compassion. Have we forgotten the soccer field hangings and public stonings so quickly? These people have shown their own people no compassion... why would they anyone elses? Are we idiots because our Christian ethics teach us to forget and forgive in the face of someone that would use that ethic against us? Does that make us stronger? Finally... is that we have have soldiers in Affy? Because of our Christian ethic to forgive? Or have we finally learned? Or are we as confused as the rest of the world knows we are?
    Merry Christmas to all... And may the power of all that is good and right with this life enter all who truely live this holiday season.

    December 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jester

    Taliban do control 70% of the whole area so whats wrong with Red Cross going to check on the people?

    December 23, 2009 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jen

    If this news article was properly written and explained this, there would not be the number of bizarre comments like this. Very poorly written article.

    December 22, 2009 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jen

    I am wondering how you think our POWs in Viet Nam got packages or letters from home? Christmas packages of small nice things. When a prisoner, you are still a human being. No longer a combatant, does not mean you are without some rights.

    If the Red Cross were to divulge position information to opposing forces, just how long do you think they would last... providing care and comfort to our prisoners would become impossible. There are rules of war...when both sides obey them no advantage is gained from visiting prisoners. Way to go Red Cross, some progress was made with this visit.

    The Red Cross visits our POW in Cuba in the same manner. It is understood and accepted finally by both combating groups... our men are better off for it.

    December 22, 2009 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. david

    The Taliban are dirty. They only allow the Red Cross in to play a PR card. It has nothing to do with Gitmo, or the Taliban being better than the US. If the Taliban are better than the Americans, then go there. Be with your Taliban brothers.

    December 22, 2009 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joshua

    So those of you who would stop donating the the Red Cross because they went to a Taliban prson camp in an attempt help the detainees, would you have stopped donating to the Red Cross in World War II when they visited American prisoners in Nazi prison camps to help insure their humanitarin treatment?

    December 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. spy15

    Seriously, stop and think about it. EVEN if they did gathered and give info, you think they would say they did publicly, all over the news? What do you think would happen next? You really think they would be allowed back in conflict zones?
    The best thing for them to say to the press is that they are UNABLE TO AND WON'T RELEASE ANY INFO.

    December 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    I gave up on the Red Cross years ago... One of the Men in My Outfit needed blood... The Red Cross wanted Him to pay for it... He couldn't afford it & died!!! I always thought they were suppose to help the Military...

    December 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Melanie

    By the way, stay safe out there! God Bless you and your efforts.

    December 21, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Melanie


    I didn't think that the Taliban harbor Al Queda anymore. I saw an interview where one of their mullahs said they don't want their land to be used by foreign elements and that they were only loyal to other Taliban.

    December 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  18. jt

    Actually being in Afghanistan now, and I have seen first hand the actions of the taliban (and not just to US or the other coalition countries here). The taliban are trying to avoid the fate that befell Al Qaida in Iraq; the loss of support from the local population. An insurgency can not exist without popular support (for long). This is purely a PR stunt to give some form of legitamacy to an otherwise illigitimate terrorist loving regime (taliban harbors Al Qaida). Don't also forget that the Taliban does hold an American captive, whose status is still unknown since last summer. I don't see the Taliban opening up to allow the International Red Cross to visit him (purely against the geneva conventions). Also remember that most attacks either by the Taliban in Afghanistan or in Pakistan are against their own people; the soft target. Don't be disillusioned by the mass media, they only follow blood trails. Something to think about.

    December 21, 2009 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  19. Pat

    Christmas cheer doesn't seem to be spread by Americans this year. If our Afghan allies are being treated humanely, would you like to recall the Vietnam War (or is that too long ago for most of you?) and the horrific conditions our POWs were subjected to by Chinese-backed Vietcong? ONLY the International Red Cross often has access to these POWs. Please, like Amnesty International, we need to SUPPORT the global efforts of neutral non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charities. Merry Christmas and a loving, more humane world to each of you. Is that not what peace is about?

    December 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Curtis

    So I'm confused...all of you don't support the Red Cross doing it's job? "No more donations from me...etc..."? Read the article thoroughly before making stupid comments.

    The mission of the ICRC
    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.

    The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

    Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the Geneva Conventions and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It directs and coordinates the international activities conducted by the Movement in armed conflicts and other situations of violence.

    December 20, 2009 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  21. Amanda

    The afghan security are being supported and trained by international forces, that include the US. Many have lost their lives at the hands of the Taliban because of the alignment with international forces. I think it was a very courages venture to trust the Taliban and make this visit. Thanks to all the people who step forward to be Red Cross Volunteers.

    December 19, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Neutral

    That Guy,

    I believe you have misunderstood the Taliban's motives here. Appearing humane to an international audience may be an unintentional byproduct, but their greater agenda is winning the minds of local populations. They have been increasingly unpopular with local people (bombings and attacks on local populations etc.) and as the US continues to try and cut off the head of the Taliban (so to speak), if they want to win the region they'll need fresh resources. They need the support of Muslims in the Middle East.

    The basic idea of inviting the IRCR in to assess these detainees is a local one. When the Taliban captures an international, my bet is on that they will be publicly executed, an international humanitarian agenda is not on their to-do list. The purpose of Jihad is to first expel outsiders from their lands and free their people from outside control, secondly to spread the influence of their religion and defeat non-believers. Therefore, when they capture Afghan security personnel, it is not in their interest to kill them. That would only spread malcontent and prove a divisive factor with the local population. Instead, they invite the IRCR in to asses their condition and provide medical treatment which of course the ICRC has happily accomplished per their directive. This shows the local people that the Taliban is not interested in killing their own people, only invaders and occupiers. They don't need the ICRC to publish reports, they don't need the ICRC to communicate the whereabouts or condition of the detainees. It is a demonstration of their new local agenda.

    Furthermore, may I remind everybody that the ICRC published Gitmo results because they in fact did find evidence of humanitarian violations and the US being as much slave to it's ethics as master would risk a lot more blowback in the case of a failed cover-up versus accepting the report and publicly advertising their emergency humanitarian reform. The Taliban has nothing to lose internationally and likewise being a violent organization has nothing to gain via ICRC reports. They're playing a local game.

    December 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Melanie

    Val, what better way to educate these people than here? But they won't listen if you name-call. If we be polite, everyone can take home something that they learned here.

    December 18, 2009 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  24. That Guy

    What is all the trouble about? I am happy that the Red Cross is able to see the prisoners. That is a good thing. However, to those who claim that the Red Cross members are neutral, just want to point this out:
    They are not neutral if only providing one piece of information to one government/group.
    The members of the Red Cross are citizens of several countries and there fore pledged loyalty to that particular government.
    The Red Cross doesn't have to give up a position, but the condition of prisoners should be stated to both sides: This is what has happened in previous conflicts.
    Being in the Red Cross doesn't mean being neutral, but to provide evidence to both sides that everything is either going well or going bad.

    I do not believe the Red Cross is committing treason to any government, but I do believe that the Red Cross is withholding information about the condition and health of the prisoners.

    December 18, 2009 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  25. Val

    I think everyone here who is against the red cross checking on the welfare of prisoners of war is completely ignorant. The Red cross is a bipartisan charitable organization who's sole mission in this case is to ensure that these prisoners are being treated humanely. Let put on our big boy pants here. Aid to the enemy?? It's this uneducated, ignorant, redneck attitude that gives Americans a bad name. I suppose your against rebuilding Afghanistan and charitable contributions to millions of orphaned children and widowed women courtesy of US attacks as well...I wish all these ignorant idiots would migrate and form a separate country.. at least we 'wouldnt have to worry about them forming nuclear weapons...

    December 18, 2009 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  26. Scott

    Looks like Kelly isn't checking up on her post. Too bad so many people wasted their time trying to reason with her. But I am heartened by the many thoughtful and supportive comments which followed.

    As to the question of why the Red Cross should not give up the locations of the prisoners...well, because if they did that, they would never be able to see prisoners again. Nobody would trust them, not just in Afghanistan, but in conflict zones around the world.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  27. some-canuck-guy

    It doesn't surprise me that the Taliban would allow the Red Cross to visit their detainees, and I salute them for doing so. Lets not forget that the Americans refused Red Cross to visit their Gitmo to ensure the proper treatment of prisoners in the 'war on terror'.
    Kelly, you want to know why America was attacked 8 years ago on 9/11? Because of the citizentry with the same type of thinking as you.

    The world isn't America. The universe doesn't revolve around America. You're basically the perfect American citizen; deeply patriotic and believing everything your government tells you.

    America is one of the only(if not they ONLY) Imperialistic state in existance today. You say democracy, but your country has been involved in plenty of external conflicts in the 20th century; they say you fight for democracy. When the truth is that you fight only to protect your interests in said region.

    Let us not forget that when the Soviets were in Afghanistan 20-30years ago, the Americans financed and armed the Islamic insurgents of that era to fight against the Soviets.

    You say that the Red Cross is committing an act of treason? How so? They're not a body that answers to the United States, or any other nation for that matter. They are a non-profit organization that wishes only to ensure that the treatment of the detainees are humane. Which we all know is a lot more than what your military can say. Or in your mind, did the incidents at Abu Ghraib never happen?

    December 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  28. me

    also since the Taliban has never followed the geneva conventions laws of war, why should the red cross follow proper procedures for a terrorist activity.

    December 17, 2009 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  29. me

    Now I still support the red cross but does anyone here recall what happened in the beginning of the war when americans were being captured and beheaded for propaganda and recruiting for the taliban? in this matter I believe they should give up the location at least before somthing happens and these peoples parents are given a folded flag to remember there children and the sacrifices they gave for there country in a situation that could have possibly been prevented

    December 17, 2009 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  30. Jo

    It's interesting that the Geneva Convention was mentioned in a negative manner about the Taliban. The United States Signed it and violated it in the last 9 years, the Taliban never signed it. It's an assumpsion that all civilized countries follow it but in reality even the signers sometimes feel the need tho violate it. The International Red Cross is correct in putting the welfare of war prisoners above political, religious, and personal veiwpoints. If I'm not mistaken it's these three items that are responsible for most wars. The ICRC organization tries to comfort the prisoners of all nations without trying to judge the so-called right side from the wrong side. People forget that the right side depends on which side you are standing on when the war begins. I like to believe I am always on the right side too. Good job ICRC!!

    December 17, 2009 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  31. Junior

    I wanted to clarify that by "anyone else for that matter" I am largely referring to ourselves, as I've noticed that some people on this side of the world have bought into the notion of this "holy war" , probably not wholeheartedly, but on a subconscious level– anyone care to agree?

    December 17, 2009 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  32. Junior

    I am in favor to end suffering, and a neutral organization such as the Red Cross Red Crescent does just that. End suffering. I believe MLK said it best:

    "This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. " -Martin Luther King Jr.

    The conflict is not a "holy war" that the Taliban, Jihadists, or anyone else for that matter would like for you to believe. Let us not them 'demonize' them or 'angelize' ourselves, but instead remember that the conflict is against other humans, with even more humans caught in between. We, as human beings, should act rationally with history at our disposal, and not repeat the costly blunders of those before us– regardless of any national or political goals. Humanity first.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  33. Matt

    @ Kelly

    The ICRC is a organization founded and ran from Switzerland, the entire idea around the Red Cross doing this visit is not for the Taliban. Their jobs are to care for the wounded, no matter what nationality, religious creed, or political faction they support. That's work that deserves merit, not blind jeering, learn more about what you're commenting on, please.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  34. Ha

    Red cross is there to protect people no matter race, gender or religion. Those idiots who say they aren't donating again to the red cross, I doubt you donated in the first place. The Red Cross do a wonderful job so to those who have hate I feel sorry for you.
    Those haters are probably inbreds they can't be helped, just keep them away from the cousins and the rest will be fine.

    December 17, 2009 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  35. steve

    john–Nashville_ i bet u never gave to the red cross anyway.....looser!!

    December 16, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Steve

    Good work Red Cross, keep it up... and if anyone here really knew what was happening over there maybe some of you might have the different idea about the Taliban..... USA should be the one never to get any support, not the RedCross....... wake up people, don't be so blind to whats really happening...

    December 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Melanie

    The Taliban should be given credit for involving the Red Cross. I believe the Taliban just want foreigners out of their country. Lets allow them to be humane without criticism.

    December 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Gary

    The Taliban is positioning itself for the re-takeover of Afganistan. It needs to be viewed as a legitimate governing force, so it uses the ICRC to gain that legitimacy.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Rob in Texas

    Hey Jeffrey Haas,

    They aren't visiting Americans, they are visiting captured Afghan security forces members.

    Read the story before you get on your soapbox. Perhaps YOU should read before you write.

    December 16, 2009 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  40. gobi de garuda

    Here a few facts in real life about ICRC.

    – They are impartial and neutral
    – They are made up volunteers, they risk their safety and going everywhere (conflict zones)
    – Their career is not donation collector

    Therefore they are

    – Perceive by repressive regimes as demons (ofcourse angel in reality)
    – Many opposing parties use them as a neutral mediator to release prisoners
    – They act as a window to the parts of world where rampant suffering occur

    December 16, 2009 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  41. Ghani Arobo

    The Taliban is turning this war to another Vietnam. They know that the way they are percieved by American Citizens is key to public support for the troops which in turn impacts on the troop's morale, accordingly they are working on their PR. Imagine what pictures of Taliban Prisoners having a good meal and nice place to sleep will do to someone who always had his doubts about this war? I seriously think this war is a mistake cos Americans have unwittingly given its haters a battle ground which they would never have had had Americans limited their troops level in this war. I am almost certain that digruntled person and even governments across the world right now will simply head to Afghanistan under what ever guise with one single aim of bringing down the USA. What is more dangerous than fighting a man who's got nothing to loose. 9/11 was a one-off and it will never happen again not in that scale. however, the most effective way tom prevent terror is through enhanced covert operation and significant policy shift on the Isreal/Palestine crisis and not lip service committment by the USA or imposition of Ahmed Karzai and then deploying American troops to protect the corrupt and inefficient governent. For me I think American lives (like any other person's life) are worth more

    December 16, 2009 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  42. Boyd

    I am kind of happy that the red cross was able to visit. nore do I see how they would or should be considered sleeping with the enemy as one user said. I think most forget how the redcross is they will help anyone and do not care about the politics of it all. They do not really care if some few narrow minded people see them and traitor's (really going to visit visit captives with out telling the other contry where they are soo soo evil...)

    December 16, 2009 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  43. Jeffery Haas in Texas

    Kelly, Aaron, John and everyone else who is branding the Red Cross as traitors and accusing them of giving comfort to the enemy, did you forget who they were visiting?
    They were visiting OUR fellow AMERICANS.
    Please, don't attempt to fool yourselves into thinking your donations will be missed.
    THEY WON'T, because they will be replaced by thinking people who understand the risks that the Red Cross takes each time they traverse enemy territory.

    And your BLOOD? Please...spare us from your tainted blood.
    I hope you never have need of their services, and believe me, even if they knew who you were and the comments you made, they would still offer you aid.

    That's because unlike you, they think before they speak.

    December 16, 2009 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
  44. Joe

    And just so were clear, the ICRC is an international organization mandated by the Geneva convention. Did any of you consider who the ICRC workers are? The workers who go into those prison camps are not all American citizens, in fact it is unlikely in Afghanistan, so please do not think that they should ever answer to the United States. They may feel just as negatively about the US as you feel about the Taliban, but they are working for a NEUTRAL organization.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  45. Joe

    To all those of you who support the ICRC, I appreciate it, because someday I hope to work for them. I am a college student working on a degree in International Conflict Studies.

    To those of you who say you will no longer support the ICRC, I cannot fault you as I cannot expect anyone to give money to an organization whose purpose or policies they do not agree with.

    However, do not be misguided and refuse to give blood. Blood drives in the US are conducted through the AMERICAN RED CROSS, which supplies 44% of all blood to the nation. Over 3000 hospitals in this country depend on the Red Cross for their blood.

    So I hope that if you begin to refuse to give blood, I hope as well you or a loved one never needs blood during surgery, from an accident, during a natural disaster, or because of an illness. Chances are, that blood came through the Red Cross. And by the way, I was trained as a lifeguard by the Red Cross, so without them, your kids wouldn't be safe at the pool.

    Do not be so quick in the modern trend of political correctedness that you hurt the society you were speaking out on behalf of in the first place.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  46. Hisham

    we haven't heard before that the Taliban captured allies troops.. so the allies media now confess that taliban have some ... this is can be called uncontiously confess or is the beginning of the withdrawal from afghanistan.. this is just as a warm up for their nations.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  47. greenfloyd

    I think this is a positive sign. It indicates the Taliban are also concerned about the battle for "hearts and minds." In the end, remember, there will be no peace without negotiation.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  48. John Keith

    Re: "What's the point of conducting the inspections then?"

    You've got to be kidding. If you were such a captive, wouldn't it raise your spirits to be able to talk to someone sympathetic, if only for a few minutes?

    And don't you think, just maybe, family members back home might appreciate some news about their missing loved ones? Though they may not receive a "report", there may nonetheless be information that finds its way home as a result. In that case, these missions would be humanitarian indeed, and not just for the captive.

    The fact that such visits to prisoners of the U.S. held at Guantanamo were initially denied for many years is an ugly stain on our own national honor.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  49. james

    Good. The red cross should be recognized and respected by all regardless of side in a conflict. Brave people!

    December 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Seth

    Kelly what on earth are you talking about? The Red Cross isn't helping the Taliban, they are checking the medical condition of OUR troops that were captured by the Taliban. The news here is that this is the first time the Taliban has allowed them to do so.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  51. TiMar

    How could someone go in there and just check up on the detainees?!?!? I mean come on. That is really messed up. I get that they want to make sure people are being treated humanely.. but really, how humanely could you possibly be treated if YOU GOT CAPTURED by an enemy. This is wrong on so many levels. I will NEVER donate anything to the Red Cross again.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Boston

    Apparently no one who has posted above knows much about the ICRC and why they exist. Do your homework before you start making ridiculous claims. And treasonous? That implies that they are disloyal to a certain government to which they need to respond to. If it will help you, google International Humanitarian Law and read up.

    In all truth, this is a break for humanitarians to see the Taliban now perceiving the ICRC as what it is, independent and neutral. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Bryson

    This shows leadership from the Taliban.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Richie

    It's a humanitarian tradition. The Red Cross visited American POW's of the Nazi's in World War II. Both sides knowing that prisoners were being seen by the Red Cross was a kind of check - they know that their POW's were also seen by them. This may be a sign that at least this faction of the Taliban has an interest in playing by at lest this rule.

    December 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  55. N. Smith

    The ICRC plays an important role in international conflics and the ananimity that they provide allows them access to the prisoners ... the trust between the taliban in this case and the icrc is the only thing currently allowing those prisoners ... our fathers sons daughters or the daughters of those that fought along side our troops have access to modern medicine and have a life line to the outside world . Although we all deteast the kind of violence that is carried out against us and the many innocent civilians on all sides o the planet .... we must not underestimate the role of such organizations in helping to resolve conflicts ... and preserving the lives of those that are in capitivity....
    Just think if it were you or your son or your father that was locked away in some prison or worse condtions with out any contact out side of your tormenters would you be concerned more about the fact that some one is checking on you that some one knows you are there .... or would you be thankful that someone knows where you are and is going to check up on you .... sometimes hope is what helps us get through ....+

    December 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Cole

    I am sorry about the typos in my recent comment (above). I did not take much time to edit it.

    December 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Cole

    I, personally, strongly support the Red Cross, and I believe that they're trying to make a difference, but I am a little dissapointed. Aparently, they can't make any changes in the Taliban camps, they cannot release any reports, and they are only permited to work with the Taliban. I mean, sure they are allowing interviews with reporters and a meeting with the Red Cross, but are a group of hard-line, extreme, religion driven terrorists who bomb marketplaces full of inocent people are going to go out of their way to follow some ICRC regulation? These guys (the Taliban) organize these meetings and interviews because they, for the most part, believe strongly that wahat they are doing is part of a (religious) mission. And if they are going to religion to the level of terrorism, than they are not going to be obsessed with having their containment centers up to snuff if they believe that they are doing the right thing. Keep trying Red Cross! Hopefully you can make progress...eventually.

    December 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Apple

    This is very good news. Anyone here remember when the United States refused the Red Cross requests to visit US detainees? Read up on the Red Cross. Keeping reports confidential is the way they do business so that they may get inside. It creates a atmosphere of trust and that is when the Red Cross can do the most good. They have a long history of this kind of work.

    December 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Shows how little you americans know

    I am an American, but a lot less naïve than you guys. Yes, they DO have that much control, don't you read the news or watch CNN?

    if they didnt allow access by ICRC, you'd be complaining how they aren't humane....

    I'm no fan of the taleban, but im not naïve....

    December 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Joe

    Kelly, the ICRC is an INTERNATIONAL Organization and strictly and exclusively NEUTRAL in ALL conflicts. By visiting prisoners they are not giving "aid and comfort to the enemy" since neither the Taliban or ISAF/Afghan forces are enemies or friends.

    Besides, how could you ever construe the red cross checking on the status of Afghans captured by the Taliban a treasonous act?

    December 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Scott

    Um, Kelly?

    They're bringing aid and comfort to people who have been captured by the Taliban. So unless your enemy is the Afghan security forces, and your ally is the Taliban, you might want to reconsider your position.

    Also, the spirit of the Red Cross is to try and provide comfort and human rights for everyone. Apparently even the Taliban has grasped that – it's pretty sad if you can't.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Loonie

    Kelly, they were visiting the prisoners held by the Taliban. Perhaps you should jerk those knees a little more slowly.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  63. SteveA

    Looks like the Taliban is more open to inspection than the US is. The Taliban has less to fear from the ICRC than does the US with its "black sites" filled with torture and "disappeared" innocent people.Congrats, US! You have become less concerned with the handling of your war prisoners than the Taliban has.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Turner

    Atleast the detainess got to see a friendly face for once. Im sure although small this let them know that they are not forgotten. Even if it only brought small hope it is worth it for them to go even if they cannot speak of what they saw.

    December 15, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  65. ben10plus10

    This people give help, they dont judge. Even a doctor will cure a wounded murderer.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  66. mattman

    The ICRC needs to stay impartial even with the Taliban, even in war there must be some sort of humanity.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Carey

    I work at the Red Cross. The fundamental principals of the Red Cross are Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality. The entire reason armed opposition groups, such as the Taliban, allow the Red Cross in to examine prisoners is because of these principals we follow. The International Committee of the Red Cross remains neutral in conflicts and of government control. Visting a Taliban camp is not giving "aid and comfort to the enemy" or any other type of treasonous act. And any money that you donate to the Red Cross goes to your chapter, unless otherwise stated. Please attempt to understand the purpose of the Red Cross or any other organization that puts their own lives at stake for others before making an ill-informed comment like that again.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Tim

    Kelly, your blood and cash, according to the article, went to Afghan security forces, an ally to the U.S., not the Taliban. Training and aiding Afghan security forces is one of the main things the U.S. is doing over there, so please don't stop donating.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Jeff of Peoria

    They commented and complained about the detainees in GITMO. I don't understand them.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Jeff

    i think it means that the taliban has prisoners and they allowed the Red Cross Workers to see them

    December 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Darcy

    "Think these guys give a hoot what the ICRC thinks?"

    Guess what guys, it's an armed conflict. Americans have in the past treated their detainees horribly. all the ICRC is doing is making sure they are ok and being treated reasonably.

    "I believe that's called giving "aid and comfort to the enemy", a treasonous offence if im not mistaken"

    they are not aiding anyone except the detainees by going in there. and that should be very important.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Mike

    Tell us were they are dont you want them to go home f- the taliban

    December 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Andres

    Even if it's our enemy or allies and even if they don't even show us respect, there has to be a level of honor to be held. I don't see a problem with any HUMAN to be shown this kind of respect. I commend Red Cross's unbiased approach.

    December 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Aaron2

    What the heck is this world coming to!!! I second kelly's response!!!

    December 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  75. john--Nashville

    Good-bye Red Cross–no more donations

    December 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Veronica

    Its obvious that none of you know anything about what exactly the ICRC does. First of all, the Red Cross is a worldwide humanitarian organization whose mission is to help not just victims of disasters but also under conditions such as these. The Red Cross is the "only" non-profit organization in the world who is allowed to go into war zones to attend to the hungry and wounded. Created under the Geneva Convention in 1859 and led by it's founder Henry Dunant, the International Red Cross stands for NEUTRALITY which allows them to go where no one else can. They are not allowed through the congressional charter to get involved in anything that is political or religious so that they can get the job done. This organization is made up of volunteers and guess what....many have been killed in those war zones trying to help the needy. Their not soldiers, but witnesses of the atrocities. I'm absolutely sure that the reports go to a much higher level than can be reported to you and I. So before you stop donating etc. do yourself a favor and find out a little more about this wonderful organization. No other non profit does what the Red Cross does because the work they do is not glamorous. Keep in mind that there is the International Committee of the Red Cross, The American Red Cross and your local chapters of the Red Cross.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  77. angelo

    Excuse me the word, but for me it was not a susprise, and is normal that in this very precise moment sent the Red Cross to inspect the prisoners, to show the world that do not treat prisoners the same way as the Americans, What cunning. ..what smart

    December 15, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Mariya

    This is beyond absurd. Whose identity are they protecting? As far as I remember Red Cross is a humanitarian organization... If Red Cross knows anything about detainees' location, it's their utmost duty to pass on any information that can lead to detainees' release. What's wrong with these people?

    December 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Tony

    In response to timothyn: you're an idiot. So in your mind, a Red Cross visit to 3 Afghan detainees is a show of force by the Taliban? You just summed up your knowledge of the whole conflict, including mainly your understanding of NGO's AND the military. As politically incorrect as it is to say, the lives of our military men and women, those of our allies, and the workers of the Red Cross would not be risked for 3 Afghan detainees. Use some common sense.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Davethecanuk

    This appears to be the latest PR move by the taliban, along with issuing apologies to innocent victims and supposedly implementing new rules of engagement that prohibit or at least limit the amount of civilian casualties. They seem to be hoping that by doing these things they can gain back some of the support they've lost and gain a more legitimate appearance as a fighting force.

    The Red Cross must appear/remain neutral in any conflict or their ability to do what they do would be compromised. Turning over reports that could aid the US and their allies in locating the detainees would be tantamount to painting a bullseye on any Red Cross workers backside in the area. Can you not see this kelly? Preserving their neutrality is hardly a treasonous offence.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Jonathan

    I'm astonished and disgusted by these posts! The point of the visits is not to aid the Taliban, if that were the case, it would be a treasonous offence. Instead, is the goal of visiting prisoners not to make sure they are safe and receiving proper and adequate health care? The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that helps the wounded and civilians; frankly, I do not see any problem with this.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Galen

    Why would they bother allowing it otherwise, confidentiality aside the reports inevitably get out if they are bad enough (ie the gitmo report)

    December 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  83. timothyn

    I am surprised the Taliban allowed this. What is even more amazing is that they actually arranged for the Red Cross to visit - weren't they worried of being attacked by our forces in an attempt to free the captives?? I mean, do they actually have that much control!?!

    December 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Aaron

    "The Red Cross did not release information on the detainees' conditions or when they were seized by the Taliban "to protect their identity,"

    "When we carry out visits and submit reports ... this is done only with the detaining authority, which is the Taliban,"

    What's the point of conducting the inspections then? It doesn't sound to me like these "inspections" will do the detained any good.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  85. Kelly

    I believe that's called giving "aid and comfort to the enemy", a treasonous offence if im not mistaken.

    Red Cross just saw the last of my donations, including cash, blood, anything.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  86. Conan

    Think these guys give a hoot what the ICRC thinks?

    December 15, 2009 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |