Karzai wants inmates transfer by Monday
09 September, 2012
KABUL: President Hamid Karzai, during a meeting with the ISAF commander and the US ambassador, on Saturday renewed his call for the transfer of the Bagram Detention Centre to his government within the agreed time, saying any delay could undermine national sovereignty.
Karzai, who met Ambassador James B. Cunningham and ISAF Commander Gen. Johan Allen at his office, said security responsibility for the Bagram prison be handed over to Afghan forces by Monday, the Presidential Palace said.The process of transferring the notorious prison and other jails run by foreign troops was started in February 2012 after Karzai appointed a commission to oversee the handover.
In March, the US military signed an MoU with the government on the transfer of Bagram jail to the Afghan control."Under the deal, the Bagram jail is to be handed over to Afghanistan within six months. Any delay in this connection will be regarded a violation of the country's sovereignty," the statement quoted President Karzai as saying.Ministry of Defence spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi told a press conference last week that the process of handing over the affairs of Bagram prison to the government control was in its final stages.
He said only 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 control so far and some of them had already been released.The Open Society Foundations (OSF) said on Thursday that US forces have 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.On Karzai's insistence, the two countries are preparing to formally turn the control of night operations to Afghans on Sunday.
Under the agreement, the US will have access to the Bagram detention centre and will be able to block the release of detainees it thinks should continue to be held.A senior policy advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Open Society Foundations, Rachel Reid, told a press conference in Kabul although the US had transferred 3,000 inmates to Afghan control, they still maintained the custody of 200 prisoners.She alleged the US forces, in a bid to maintain their influence in Bagram, had turned down the demand from the Afghan government.