Much of Jonathan Gottfried’s comment on Camp X-Ray [RECORD, Feb. 7, 2002] makes sense but it seems to indicate that he has never read the Geneva Convention. He says, “It does not, for example, cover civil wars.” Article 3 starts: “In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties …” He also says that the Convention does not apply to the Taliban because it “was not the recognized government of Afghanistan.” Article 4 says that POWs include “Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.” There remains a question whether the Taliban met the other requirements for POW protection such as having a “fixed distinctive sign,” but the Convention provides that this question is to be decided by a competent tribunal. It appears that the U.S. Government has now agreed on this.
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