Afghanistan Takes Full Control of Bagram Prison
The US military handed over full control of the only US-run prison in Afghanistan to the Afghan government Monday, easing tensions over one of the longest-running standoffs between Kabul and Washington.
In an official ceremony at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, the US military transferred oversight for a group of several hundred prisoners to Afghan control – the remaining detainees who were not handed over in September.
Around 3000 prisoners and most of the detention centre were transferred to Afghan control in September as per the original Afghan-US prison handover agreement signed in March 2012.
Afghan military commander in Bagram, Safiullah Safi, said the Afghan security forces are confident of their ability to provide security for the prison, understood to hold some of the most dangerous insurgents captured in the 11-year war.
The handover has been delayed numerous times because of American fears that some of these prisoners would be released in amnesty deals by President Hamid Karzai, and they would rejoin the insurgent ranks.
The agreement to finally complete the handover came Saturday in a last minute verbal confirmation by telephone between newly-appointed US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Karzai.
It is understood that they reached a compromise over the misgivings of both parties including a reassurance from Karzai that prisoners deemed to be the most dangerous by the US would not be released.
The handover was one of Karzai’s key pre-conditions for the Afghan government to sign the May 2012 long-term strategic agreement with the US. (tolonews)