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Bagram Jail Handover to Complete on Monday: MoD

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KABUL – The US military would resume and complete the transfer of all inmates held at the controversial Bagram jail in central Parwan province to the Afghan control during a special ceremony slated for Monday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Saturday. The US military has suspended transfer of prisoners to the Afghan control at the facility over concern about torture and other human rights abuses.

In a brief statement, the ministry said it expected all the affairs of the Parwan Detention Cenre, 30 miles north of Kabul, would be handed over to its control. The long-demanded complete handoff comes at a crucial moment in negotiations over legal immunity for US troops. In 2011, the US made a similar decision to halt prisoner transfers in response to a United Nations report that found torture to be rampant in Afghan prisons. The latest halt in transfers was made ahead of a new UN report with similar allegations.

President Hamid Karzai has demanded all detainees be transferred to Afghan authority out of respect for the country’s sovereignty. Transfer of prisoners dominated talks between Karzai and President Barack Obama at their meeting in Washington. The US has refused to release about three dozen captives and held back the transfer of more than 600 more recently captured prisoners.

In the previous ceremony, the Afghan army formally took custody of hundreds of inmates accused of fighting for or supporting the Taliban and other militants during the 11-year-old war. The handover marked a victory for Karzai, fulfilling an agreement he struck last year with the United States. Karzai did not attend the ceremony at Bagram air base, but he dispatched top generals and ministers to talk glowingly of the transition.

No high-ranking US military officers or senior officials had attended that ceremony, as part of the March 9 agreement. The prison handover is part of a larger transitioning of security responsibilities to Afghan forces — the linchpin of the US plan to pull out its combat troops at the end of 2014. (PAN)

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