Afghans to Take Over Bagram Prison
Monday, January 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm
Vice Adm. Robert Harward arrived in Afghanistan this fall to take over detention operations for Gen. Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal’s explicit instructions for Harward’s portfolio were to transfer control of the prison at Bagram Air Field to Afghan control. On Saturday, that instruction took a big step forward:
Afghan officials have agreed to take over the running of the US military prison at Bagram, which currently houses about 750 inmates, including around 30 foreign nationals.
A so-called Memorandum of Understanding signed on Saturday could see the controversial facility handed over to Afghan control within months, officials said.
The plan appears to be to transition Bagram first to the Afghan defense ministry and then to the justice ministry. But the shift also augurs something profound: it means that Bagram can’t serve as neo-Guantanamo, as some have suggested. Daphne Eviatar reported that the influential Center for American Progress floated a proposal in November to send Guantanamo detainees to Bagram as an interim step to closing the Cuban prison. But handing Bagram over to Afghan control effectively forecloses on that option.
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