Abusive Night Raids by CIA-Backed Afghan Strike Forces

This report documents 14 cases from late 2017 to mid-2019 in which CIA-backed Afghan strike forces committed serious abuses, some amounting to war crimes. The US should work with the Afghan government to immediately disband and disarm all paramilitary forces that operate outside the ordinary military chain of command and cooperate with independent investigations of all allegations of war crimes and other human rights abuses. 

A car burned during a raid by the Khost Protection Force in Tani district, Khost province, Afghanistan, July 28, 2019.


  • December 1, 2015

    A Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture

    This 153-page report sets out evidence to support the main criminal charges that can be brought against those responsible for state-sanctioned torture, and challenges claims that prosecutions are not legally possible. The report also outlines US legal obligations to provide redress to victims of torture, and steps the US should take to do so. It also details actions that other countries should take to pursue criminal investigations into CIA torture.

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  • February 19, 2014

    US Drone Attack on Marriage Procession in Yemen

    This 28-page report calls on the US government to investigate the strike, publish its findings, and act in the event of wrongdoing. The December 12 attack killed 12 men and wounded at least 15 other people, including the bride.

  • October 22, 2013

    The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killings in Yemen

    The 97-page report examines six US targeted killings in Yemen, one from 2009 and the rest from 2012-2013. Two of the attacks killed civilians indiscriminately in clear violation of the laws of war; the others may have targeted people who were not legitimate military objectives or caused disproportionate civilian deaths.

  • September 5, 2012

    US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya

    This report is based on interviews conducted in Libya with 14 former detainees, most of whom belonged to an armed Islamist group that had worked to overthrow Gaddafi for 20 years. Many members of the group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), joined the NATO-backed anti-Gaddafi rebels in the 2011 conflict.

  • June 29, 2012

    Counterterrorism Laws Worldwide since September 11

    The 112-page report says that while terrorist attacks have caused thousands of deaths and injuries, that is no justification for counterterrorism laws that violate the basic rights of suspects and that are also used for politically motivated purposes.

  • July 12, 2011

    The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees

    This 107-page report presents substantial information warranting criminal investigations of Bush and senior administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA Director George Tenet, for ordering practices such as “waterboarding,” the use of secret CIA prisons, and the transfer of detainees to countries where they were tortured.

  • October 1, 2008

    The 2007 Horn of Africa Renditions and the Fate of Those Still Missing

    This 54-page report examines the 2007 rendition operation, during which at least 90 men, women, and children fleeing the armed conflict in Somalia were unlawfully rendered from Kenya to Somalia, and then on to Ethiopia.
  • April 7, 2008

    CIA Renditions to Jordan

    This 36-page report documents how Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID) served as a proxy jailer and interrogator for the CIA from 2001 until at least 2004. While a handful of countries received persons rendered by the United States during this period, no other country is believed to have held as many as Jordan.

  • June 7, 2007

    U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the “War on Terror”

    This 21-page briefing paper, published by six leading human rights organizations, includes the names and details of 39 people who are believed to have been held in secret US custody abroad and whose current whereabouts remain unknown. The briefing paper also names relatives of suspects who were themselves arrested and detained, including children as young as seven.
  • February 26, 2007

    Two Years in Secret CIA Detention

    This 50-page report contains a detailed description of a secret CIA prison from a Palestinian former detainee who was released from custody. The report provides the most comprehensive account to date of life in a secret CIA prison, as well as information regarding 38 possible detainees.
  • July 22, 2006

    Soldiers' Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq

    Torture and other abuses against detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, according to accounts from soldiers in this 53-page report. Soldiers describe how detainees were routinely subjected to severe beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep deprivation, and exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures.
  • December 12, 2005

    Questions and Answers

    The United States is holding an unknown number of terrorism suspects in secret overseas locations, and refusing either to acknowledge the detentions or to give information on the fate or the whereabouts of these detainees. The following questions and answers address legal issues concerning U.S. detainees disappeared into secret prisons.
  • November 30, 2005

    List of Detainees Published by Human Rights Watch

    Human Rights Watch has released a list of persons believed to be in U.S. custody as “ghost detainees” -- detainees who are not given any legal rights or access to counsel, and who are likely not reported to or seen by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • October 2, 2005

    Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq

    This report is the most detailed study to date of abuses by insurgent groups. It systematically presents and debunks the arguments that some insurgent groups and their supporters use to justify unlawful attacks on civilians.
  • April 23, 2005

    Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees

    This 95-page report, issued on the eve of the first anniversary of the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos, presents substantial evidence warranting criminal investigations of Rumsfeld and Tenet, as well as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, formerly the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Gen. Geoffrey Miller the former commander of the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.