The transfer of responsibility for Bagram Prison from the US military to the Afghan government was again delayed Saturday after alleged disagreements over a number of the articles in the Kabul-Washington pact.
According to the Afghan defense ministry spokesman, the delay in the transfer of the Parwan-based military prison was a “technical problem”.
Sources close to the matter told TOLOnews that President Hamid Karzai disagreed with five points in the memorandum of understanding, likely to be those related to foreign inmates and the US controlling the release of prisoners.
The transfer – one of the most controversial points affecting the relationship between the two countries in the past year – as well the expulsion of US Special Forces from central Maidan Wardak province are said to be the priorities of newly-appointed US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in his visit to Afghanistan.
“”We continue to work out the details on the transfer of the Detention Facility in Parwan to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
We remain committed to the full transfer of the facility and all Afghan detainees to the government of Afghanistan. We respect Afghan sovereignty. We intend to proceed with the transfer once we have reached full agreement,” US Forces spokesperson Col. Thomas Collins told TOLOnews.
The transfer was agreed on one year ago with the complete handover to happen by September 2012 deadline, but while the US military has complied with most of the agreement, it continues to retain some control.
Karzai said at Parliament on Wednesday that today would be the day of complete transfer and also spoke of some prisoner releases.
“The president clearly stated Wednesday that a big number of the prisoners will be released after the handover of the prison to the government of Afghanistan. This makes the Americans fear that these prisoners might return to battlefields similar to the others,” said Zaheer Saadat, MP.
Karzai met with Isaf Commander Joseph Dunford at Arg – the presidential palace – this afternoon to further discuss the issues within the pact and will likely release a comment on the matter, presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi told TOLOnews.
US concerns around prisoner release stem from the fact that reports of released Taliban members have often returned to the insurgency and attacking US forces.