News

US Reaches Deal With Afghanistan to Turn Over Detainees

Afghan detainees, seen through a mesh wire fence, prepare for noon prayers inside the Parwan detention facility near Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, March 23, 2011.
Afghan detainees, seen through a mesh wire fence, prepare for noon prayers inside the Parwan detention facility near Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, March 23, 2011.
Brian Padden

U.S. and Afghan officials reached an agreement Friday to accelerate the transfer of U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan to the Kabul government.

The memorandum of understanding signed Friday by Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and U.S. General John Allen, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, resolves a contentious issue that threatened to derail the development of a long-term partnership between the two countries.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had demanded immediate Afghan control of the detainees.  American officials said they needed at least a six-month transition period.

The compromise reached in the memorandum of understanding would give an Afghan immediate official control of detainees as soon as a commander of detention facilities is appointed.  But it also calls for a six-month transition period, during which American officials will maintain day-to-day control in the detainment facilities and will provide technical assistance for one year after that.  

In addition, under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the Afghan government is required to consult with the U.S. before releasing any of the transferred detainees, and to "consider favorably" any U.S. request not to release a detainee deemed likely to engage in or facilitate terrorist activity.

In signing the agreement, Afghanistan's government also affirms it has established an administrative detention regime that complies with its international obligations regarding the humane treatment of prisoners.

General Allen says the memorandum of understanding demonstrates the resolve of both countries to work together toward common goals.

"It is yet another example of the progress of transition, and our efforts to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists," said Allen.

President Karzai had set Friday as the deadline for handover of control of the detention center in Parwan, located next to the American military based at Bagram, outside of Kabul. Most of 3,000 prisoners held there are suspected Taliban insurgents.  Last month, U.S. soldiers at the base inadvertently burned Qurans, provoking a week of violent anti-American protests.

The memorandum of understanding signed Friday removes a major obstacle in developing a strategic partnership that will define the U.S. role in Afghanistan after most of the 98,000 U.S. combat troops are withdrawn in 2014.

There is a still a major disagreement over night raids by the American military.  President Karzai wants to end them.

Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak says progress is also being made on that issue.

He says finalizing the special operations issue based on conditions sets by Afghanistan will pave the way for the signing of a strategic partnership agreement.

U.S. and Afghan officials have said they want to have a strategic partnership document signed in time for the NATO summit set to be held in Chicago in May.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs