§ Ann Clwyd
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date his Department received reports and representations from the International Committee of the Red Cross regarding the conditions of fighters held in Shibergan prison in Afghanistan; and what action his Department has taken. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
I understand that this Department did not receive any representations from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) regarding the conditions of fighters held in Shiberghan prison in Afghanistan.
Our Embassy staff in Kabul are in frequent contact with the ICRC, which monitors closely the situation and welfare of all prisoners in Afghanistan. The ICRC is concerned about conditions in the camp. A number of prisoners have been released since February, but the prison continues to hold some 1,600 men (it was designed to hold 1,000). The ICRC began a feeding programme for prisoners in mid-April.
Throughout the conflict last autumn, we urged the Northern Alliance to respect international human rights laws, including the Geneva Conventions, and to treat humanely all those who surrendered and were taken prisoner. Since then, we have made clear to the Afghan Interim Administration that we expect them to respect their international obligations, including to treat their prisoners humanely.
The former Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for South Asia, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter, raised our concerns most recently on 27 May, when he discussed the reported mistreatment of prisoners with the Afghan Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The US$4.5 billion pledged by the international community for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan over the next five years should help to improve conditions across the country, including in prisons. The Afghan Interim Administration has asked General Dostum, the regional commander with responsibility for the camp, to ensure that conditions at Shiberghan are improved swiftly.