A new report was released on Thursday outlining the abuse, reportedly perpetrated by SEAL Team 2, of Afghan detainees in 2012 and its subsequent cover-up. A 24-year-old Afghan man, Muhammad Hashem, who was married and had a newborn son, was beaten to death by Navy SEALs at an American outpost in Afghanistan, according to the Sky Valley Chronicle.
The SEAL Team members were never charged for the homicide due to an alleged U.S. Navy cover-up. When some soldiers initially complained, SEAL command, instead of issuing a court-martial, went with a closed disciplinary process, which is usually reserved for less egregious offences.
"It's unfathomable," said Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general of the Navy, according to the report from the New York Times. "It really does look like this was intended just to bury this."
The incident occurred on May 31, 2012, after Afghan police allied with the SEALs were bombed at a checkpoint, killing an Afghan officer. Angered, they rounded up half a dozen suspects, and transported them to an American outpost, beating them with rifle butts and car antennas along the way. When they arrived, an American medic, Specialist David Walker, expected SEAL Team 2 to stop the beatings, but he reported one of them "jump-kicked this guy kneeling on the ground", according to the report. Two other SEALs joined the fray, and along with the Afghan militiamen, beat one of the suspects to death.
Later that evening, "[t]he three Navy SEALs stomped on the bound Afghan detainees and dropped heavy stones on their chests, the witnesses recalled. They stood on the prisoners' heads and poured bottles of water on some of their faces in what, to a pair of Army soldiers, appeared to be an improvised form of waterboarding," according to the report. Even prior to these incidents, SEALs were acting inappropriately, as "they had amused themselves by tossing grenades over the walls of their base, firing high-caliber weapons at passing vehicles and even aiming slingshots at children, striking them in the face with hard candy."
Not only did the abuse lead to a death, but arguably worse is the detrimental hit the U.S. is taking in gaining the Afghan people's approval, according to the Washington Times. Villagers are feeling alienated, and some that had been cooperative, now flee for Taliban controlled regions.