US forces to exit Nirkh; jail transfer in final stages
KABUL (PAN): While a deal has been reached with the US military on the pullout of foreign forces from central Maidan Wardak province, transition of the Bagram jail to Afghan control is in final stages, a defence ministry official announced on Wednesday.
As a result of a series of negotiations, the two sides had agreed on transferring 99 percent of Bagram detention centre’s affairs to Afghan authorities, the ministry spokesman told a news conference in Kabul.
“Only one percent of the problems remain, which be resolved in a few days and the presidential decree in this regard implemented,” Gen. Zahir Azimi said, hours after the top US military commander in Afghanistan announced reaching a deal on transition in Maidan Wardak.
Last month, President Hamid Karzai ordered US special forces to quit the province, fuelling concerns among American military officials that their withdrawal could allow militants to reinforce their presence in the strategic area.
In an attempt to achieve an understanding on the issue, ISAF Commander Gen. Joseph F. Dunford met President Karzai at the Palace on Wednesday to finalise the details on the way forward in Wardak, a statement from the NATO-led force said.
"I am pleased to announce that following a very constructive series of talks with the president, we have come to agreement on a plan for Wardak that continues the transition of this critical province and meets the security needs of the people and the requirements of our mission," Dunford said.
Azimi confirmed the ISAF had voiced its willingness to withdraw its special forces from Nirkh district, which is currently secured by Afghan Local Police aided by coalition troops. The government would soon send Afghan army units into the area in the next few days, he said, explaining US commando units had no presence in other parts of the province.
He said several Afghan National Army officials had been detained for dereliction of duty, including a failure to prevent the torture of people in areas where they were deployed. However, he stopped short of giving further details.
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