Karzai Promises Obama to Keep Dangerous Detainees in Prison
President Hamid Karzai spoke by telephone with his US counterpart Barack Obama on Tuesday, whereby Karzai pledged to not release dangerous detainees from Afghan prisons, the White House said in a statement. More than a year after signing an agreement to transfer Bagram prison from US to Afghan control – and two weeks after the final handover took place – US concerns about the release of some detainees remain high.
According to the White House statement, the two leaders agreed that officials from the US and Afghanistan would strive to “keep dangerous detainees off the battlefield, and work in partnership at the facility, consistent with Afghan sovereignty”. More than 1,376 detainees have been released from the prison since September when the Afghan government took control of most of the facility, the attorney general’s office told TOLOnews on Sunday.
Karzai and Obama also discussed the upcoming presidential and provincial polls during which Karzai affirmed his support for fair and inclusive elections, the White House said. The two leaders also discussed progress in transferring responsibility for security to Afghan forces from the US-led coalition, with both “looking forward” to Afghan security forces taking the lead role, the statement said.
Obama welcomed Karzai’s meetings last month with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, to advance peace talks with the Taliban, the statement added. Their conversation comes a month after the tense visit of the US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel to Kabul when Karzai suggested the US were meeting with the Taliban secretly.
US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Kabul two weeks later and soothed the strained relationship with messages of understanding for Karzai and speeches that pledged the two countries will come to an agreement on some US forces remaining after 2014. Obama has pledged to bring most US troops home from Afghanistan by the end of next year. Around 10,000 US troops may remain although this is still to be confirmed via an agreement between the two nations. (Tolonews)