US transfers Bagram detainees to Afghans
The United States yesterday formally handed control to Afghanistan of more than 3,000 detainees at the controversial Bagram prison, but disagreements remain over the fate of hundreds of inmates.
Kabul has hailed the transfer of what has in the past been dubbed the Guantanamo Bay of Afghanistan as a victory for sovereignty as Nato prepares to hand over full national security to Afghans and withdraw its combat troops by the end of 2014.
Analysts, however, say the move is more symbolic than substantial and human rights advocates have raised concerns about abuses of administrative detention.
Questions remain over the fate of the inmates, who include Taliban fighters and terror suspects, 50 foreigners not covered by the agreement, and hundreds of Afghans arrested since the transfer deal was signed on March 9.
Afghan officials on Monday organised and presided over a small handover ceremony at the prison, officially called the Parwan Detention Facility but more commonly referred to Bagram after the neighbouring US airbase north of Kabul.
There was only a paltry attendance among US officers as the Afghan flag was erected over the prison, marking the transfer.
"We transfer more than 3,000 Afghan detainees into your custody," said Colonel Robert Taradash, the highest ranking US official at the ceremony.