Afghans take control of Bagram prison
KABUL (PAN): With the hoisting of the Afghan national flag, the control of the notorious Bagram Detention Centre was transferred from US troops to local personnel at a ceremony in the central province of Parwan on Monday, officials said.
Bagram Jail Commander Maj. Gen. Ghulam Farouq Barakzai told the ceremony more than 3,000 inmates had been handed over to Afghan custody over the past three months. Afghan and US troops did their best to make the transfer a success, he said.
“We will respect the rights of prisoners according to Afghan laws and international agreements,” the commander promised, explaining that 50 foreign prisoners were still US custody. Higher officials would decide their fate.
He said the US was still in the process of transferring another 600 suspects detained after the March 9 agreement, which did not cover the 50 non-Afghans.
"We transfer more than 3,000 Afghan detainees into your custody," Col. Robert Taradash of the US Army told the ceremony. “Those who threaten the partnership between Afghanistan and coalition forces will not return to the battlefield,” he assured.
Acting defence minister Enayatullah Nazari welcomed the transfer as a “glorious ceremony that marks the handing over of responsibilities of Afghan prisoners to Afghans themselves." Very few prisoners remained with the US military and the rest were under Afghan control, he said.President Hamid Karzai, during a meeting with the ISAF commander and the US ambassador, on Saturday renewed his call for the transfer of the jail to his government within the agreed timeframe, warning any delay could undermine national sovereignty.
The process of shifting the notorious prison and other jails run by foreign troops was initiated in February 2012 after Karzai appointed a commission to oversee the handover. In March, the US military signed a MoU with the government on the transfer of Bagram jail to the Afghan control.
Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi told a press conference last week the process of handing over Bagram prison affairs to the government was in its final stages. He said the 34 prisoners still in custody of foreign troops would be transferred to Afghan control soon.
Of the total 3082 inmates held at Bagram jail, 3006 have been transferred to Afghan custody so far and some of them had already been released.
On Thursday, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) said US forces had been keeping in custody 200 Afghan prisoners held over the past six months, despite an agreement in on the transfer of inmates to Afghan control.The US military signed the agreement with the government on March 9 on shifting the Parwan Detention Centre to Afghan control in six months. The accord is seen as a key step toward a long-term pact on the US military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
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