Bagram Prison transfer to Afghans delayed again
New York Times
KABUL, Afghanistan -- The promised American transfer of Bagram Prison to Afghan control collapsed once again on Saturday amid misunderstandings and recriminations between the two allies, punctuated by a deadly bombing outside the Afghan Defense Ministry.
The ceremony and the transfer of the last of nearly 4,000 Afghan prisoners from American to Afghan custody was called off by the U.S. military commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., at the last minute late Friday after President Hamid Karzai the day before rejected several important provisions in the transfer agreement.
The impasse was an embarrassment to both allies and came during the first official visit to the country by the new defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, who arrived Friday as officials scrambled to respond to Karzai's objections. As recently as Jan. 11, at a news conference with President Barack Obama in Washington, Karzai had said that the issue of detention had been solved finally and that the transfer would occur soon.
Bagram Prison, which the U.S. military calls the Detention Facility in Parwan, is the only American-run prison for the long-term detention of people suspected of being insurgents in Afghanistan.
Journalists who had gathered in front of the Afghan Defense Ministry on Saturday to be bused to the handover ceremony were sent away. Less than three hours later, a suicide bomber struck at that location, killing at least 10 people, two of them Afghan soldiers on guard duty. n