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    10,000 in detention on militancy charges

    KABUL (PAN): A top Afghan jail official on Sunday said nearly 10,000 individuals, held over the past 11 years on charges of insurgency-related activities, remained imprisoned in various jails across the country.

    Of the detainees, more than 6,000 have been charged with cooperating with the Taliban insurgents, General Director of Prisons Brig. Gen. Amir Mohammad Jamshidi told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He said most of the men were political prisoners arrested by military police of the Ministry of Defence and other security forces over the past 11 years.

    The inmates have been languishing in various jails in provinces, with Pul-i-Charkhi prison, east of Kabul, housing the largest number of them, Jamshidi said, adding several had been sentenced from five to 20 years in jail.

    A military police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 3,277 inmates were in custody of the defence ministry's security unit. Eighty percent of them had been arrested by foreign troops as "war prisoners", he revealed.

    He said the military police had no information about the prisoners foreign troops had detained over the past four months. There are 20,000 detainees, some convicted on criminal charges, being held at various facilities under the interior ministry's control.

    US troops recently halted prisoner transfers to the Afghan government control after a UN report said Afghan police and intelligence men continued to torture and abuse detainees, a claim confirmed by a public inquiry panel appointed by President Hamid Karzai.