Afghan President criticizes US for holding prisoners despite jail handover
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday criticized the United States for failing to transfer 600 inmates at Bagram jail to Afghan control, despite handing over the prison to Afghan authorities, dpa reported.
The prison at Bagram airbase, now known as Parwan Detention Centre, holds more than 3,000 suspected insurgents and is one of the largest in Afghanistan. Control of the jail was handed over by the US to Afghan authorities on September 10.
But NATO said 34 prisoners plus 600 who were captured after the initial agreement had been signed, would remain in US custody pending clarification. The US is reportedly concerned that Afghan authorities may simply release inmates it considers to be dangerous.
"Delay in the handing over of prisoners after 9th September is a serious violation of the agreement signed between Afghanistan and the United States," Karzai told Marc Grossman, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, in a meeting at his palace.
"The people of Afghanistan consider prisons and the detention of Afghans to be an issue related to their national sovereignty and this has been repeatedly mentioned in the strategic partnership agreement between the two countries," Karzai was quoted as saying in a statement.
US and NATO officials were not immediately available to comment.
Karzai had asked the US government to hand over control of Bagram to his national security forces earlier this year, after a commission appointed by him discovered violations of the Afghan constitution and human rights.