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Pakistan Repatriates 14 from Bagram Prison

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE - A cell block at detention center is seen at the U.S. Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul.

FILE - A cell block at detention center is seen at the U.S. Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul.

Pakistani officials said the United States has turned over 14 detainees who were being held at the Bagram military prison in Afghanistan.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam in Islamabad told VOA the transfer took place on Saturday.

Aslam said the released prisoners have returned to Pakistan and that there is "no information readily available" on how many Pakistanis are still detained at Bagram.

Families and advocates said they have also received confirmation from the International Red Cross (ICRC) that their relatives have been repatriated.

The Lahore-based legal aid organization, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), that represents the families of the Bagram detainees, said the U.S. military has released a total of 39 Pakistanis, including Saturday’s prisoners, from custody in the past 10 months.

Whereabouts unknown

It said Pakistani authorities have yet to provide them with names of the released men or their current whereabouts.

“We still don’t know about the whereabouts of the nine detainees released last month. The lack of clarity with today’s tranche gives us reason to fear that they, too, may be held incommunicado by the Pakistani authorities,” said Sara Belal, the lead counsel for JPP.

As part of its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington has stepped up efforts to wind down its so-called Bagram detention center north of Kabul.

The U.S. military's Afghan combat mission will conclude at the end of this year, depriving it of legal authority to detain prisoners there.

Military commanders said there are no plans to turn over non-Afghan detainees to Kabul's custody.

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