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US Hands Full Control of Bagram Prison to Afghanistan

  • VOA News

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand in formation during a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the US airbase in Bagram north of Kabul. (Sept 2012 file photo)

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand in formation during a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the US airbase in Bagram north of Kabul. (Sept 2012 file photo)

Afghanistan has taken full control of a controversial detention center from the United States.

Bagram military prison was handed over to Afghanistan in a ceremony Monday.

The transfer was scheduled to happen earlier this month, but was abruptly canceled just before a ceremony was to begin.

A NATO spokesman said then that the transfer would proceed once the two sides had reached a "full agreement."

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A deal was finally clinched Saturday in a phone conversation between U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The U.S. partly handed over the high-security prison and around 3,000 suspected Taliban fighters to Afghan control last year.

However, Afghanistan's full control over the detention center has been repeatedly delayed over U.S. concerns that hundreds more Taliban fighters still in U.S. custody would be released.

Monday's transfer of control of Bagram prison comes a day after Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry announced President Hamid Karzai will visit Qatar to discuss the possibility of opening a Taliban office in the Gulf state.

Authorities say an office for the militants could help facilitate the negotiation of an end to the 11-year war in Afghanistan.

The meeting in Qatar is expected to take place within weeks.

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