Afghan president raps US over Bagram prison transfer
17 September, 2012
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the United States on Sunday of breaching a pact to hand over the main US military prison at Bagram Airbase and its inmates to Afghan control, after meeting Washington’s top envoy to the region.
In a row, which could complicate already thorny negotiations over the future US military presence in the country, Karzai told US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman any delay to the handover was a serious violation of a strategic agreement between the allies.
"The people of Afghanistan consider the issue of prisons and detention of their fellow citizens a matter of their national sovereignty," said a statement released by Karzai’s office after the president and Grossman meeting at his garden palace in Kabul.
The US handed over the high-security prison and around 3,000 suspected Taliban to Afghan control over a six-month period ending on September 10, but did not transfer 600 or so detainees captured after the memorandum was signed.
The prisons deal, which took almost a year to conclude, helped lay the ground for a separate strategic pact framing US development aid and support to Afghanistan for a decade after the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops in 2014.
It also prepared the way for yet another round of negotiations on a status-of-forces deal covering the US basing and troop numbers in Afghanistan after the NATO pullout, likely including more military advisers and special forces.