The Afghan government will take full control of the U.S.-built Bagram Prison on March 9, the spokesman of the Afghan president announced on Sunday.
Aimal Faizi was quoted by Afghanistan’s Tamaddon TV as saying that the decision for the full transfer of the facility to Afghan forces was finalized during a meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, who is the commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), in Kabul last week.
At the meeting, it was agreed that control of the other prisons and detention centers currently run by ISAF will also be transferred to the Afghan government in the near future.
In November 2012, Karzai accused U.S. officials of violating a bilateral agreement to fully transfer the Bagram facility to Afghanistan.
The Afghans say that the detainees held at Bagram should be transferred to their control according to an agreement signed by the two countries in March 2012.
However, tension between the two governments has risen on the detainee transfers over the past few months. At the heart of the controversy is the issue of 57 prisoners held in Bagram who have been acquitted by Afghan courts but who have been held by U.S. forces at the prison for more than a month, in defiance of release orders. Afghan officials are also concerned about the status of new detainees being captured by U.S. troops.
Bagram Prison can hold more than 3,000 detainees. The detention center, which lies within Bagram Air Base, about 60 kilometers north of Kabul in Parwan province, is surrounded by U.S. checkpoints and is heavily staffed by U.S. guards.
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