US hands over key prison to Afghanistan

IANS

Kabul, Sep 10 (IANS) US forces in Afghanistan Monday handed over full control of a key US-run prison - the Bagram Detention Centre - to the Afghan defence ministry, Xinhua reported.

"Today, we saw another significant step towards the transition process from coalition forces to the Afghan army and police by handing over the control of Bagram detention centre from our international partners to Afghan army," Afghan acting defence minister Hinayatuula Nazari was quoted as saying.

The prison was handed over at a ceremony held in the facility located near the Bagram air base, the main US military base, 50 km north of Kabul.

Top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen and former Afghan defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak had signed an agreement March 9 over the transfer of the facility within six months.

According to the document, Afghanistan will consult with the US before the release of inmates.

The US will continue its presence at the facility in order to provide advisory, technical and logistical support for one year starting March 9, according to the agreement.

More than 3,000 prisoners including hundreds of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, are currently in the detention centre, Safiullah Safi, a military police commander in the prison, told Xinhua.

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