Blot on us all

The NS is to be congratulated on publishing Stephen Grey's article ("Missing presumed tortured", 20 November). Indifference to the fate of so many prisoners over so many years will remain a blot on the reputation of the British press. More disgraceful is the failure of politicians to demand an inquiry into this and other disturbing aspects of the war in Afghanistan.

During research in 2003, I first learned of the refusal of coalition authorities, despite calls by Physicians for Human Rights, to acknowledge or to investigate mass graves near Sheberghan in northern Afghanistan. These are alleged to contain the bodies of prisoners entitled to protection by the coalition. I have since sought in vain to persuade any party to demand action. What exactly are the values that Blair feels our forces are fighting for in Afghanistan ? Why does not Brown demand that the laws of war are upheld in our own time rather than offer to fund trips for students to Auschwitz ?

Howard Horsley
Much Wenlock, Shropshire

This article first appeared in the 27 November 2006 issue of the New Statesman, The real Afghan war