Afghan officials agreed on Saturday to take over responsibility for the U.S. military’s Bagram prison north of Kabul, a move that could close a chapter in the troubled history of U.S. detentions since 2001.
The jail at Bagram, where U.S. troops beat to death two prisoners in 2002, stands beside Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq as a symbol of harsh treatment of detainees under the administration of ex-President George W. Bush.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense would first take the lead, eventually transferring the prison to the Afghan justice ministry, responsible for ordinary prisons under Afghan law, Clutter said.
“They are working to an aggressive timescale,” he said. Afghan personnel could be stationed in the prison by March, and could eventually take it over by the end of 2010, depending on how quickly they could be trained.
Clutter said there were now about 750 prisoners at Bagram, including about 30 non-Afghans, some of whom may have been brought there after being captured outside the country.
U.S. authorities in the past have used Bagram to hold terrorism suspects they capture in other parts of the world, although Clutter said it would probably be used only for detainees caught in Afghanistan once it is transferred.
Prisoners held in Bagram are not given lawyers or trials, a practice that Washington was required to end in Iraq last year under an agreement with the Iraqi government.
2010-01-10 17:51:33 UTC