Karzai orders ‘full Afghanization’ of Bagram prison


Afghan President Hamid Karzai talks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Apirl 11, 2011.


Massoud Hossaini

Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the transfer of detainees from American to Afghan control, or what he called the “full Afghanization” of a US-run prison at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, the Washington Post reported.

Karzai said the Americans have not fully transferred all detainees to local authorities as required by a bilateral agreement signed by both countries last March.

The New York Times said the decision comes at the end of two-month "grace period" agreed to by President Barack Obama.

Afghan authorities were particularly concerned about 57 Afghans held at the prison who have been deemed innocent by local courts, the Times wrote.

Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for President Karzai, told the Times "hundreds of new prisoners were being held... in a closed-off section of the Bagram Prison, which the American military calls the Detention Facility in Parwan."

The Washington Post quoted Faizi saying that number is closer to "over 50 prisoners."

The US Forces-Afghanistan responded with a statement saying “The United States fully respects the sovereignty of Afghanistan, and we are committed to fulfilling the mutual obligations incurred under the Memorandum of Understanding on Detentions," the Times reported.

According to the Post, American officials said this latest move by Karzai is an attempt to win favor at home by putting pressure on the US.