Detention & Guantanamo

Detention Deal in Afghanistan

By Benjamin Wittes
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 8:40 AM

Both the New York Times and Washington Post are reporting that U.S. and Afghan officials have resolved the dispute over the transfer of authority over the Detention Facility at Parwan to Afghanistan. The Times reports:

On Saturday, a Pentagon spokesman said that the transfer would take place on Monday.

American officials gave few details on Saturday about the specific terms of the deal, but one senior defense official said that the Afghans had offered “private assurances” that detainees whom the United States considers to be most dangerous would not be released. The official said that the United States would be able to advise Afghan officials on a process to determine whether prisoners should be released, but that “final decisions will be Afghan.”

The biggest issue holding up the prison transfer was an American demand for veto power over whom the Afghans would release from Bagram, which the American military calls the Detention Facility in Parwan.

Concerned about insurgents returning to the battlefield after being freed, American military commanders also wanted promises that the Karzai government would not release certain prisoners deemed “enduring security threats,” even if they could not be prosecuted in court for offenses they are accused of.

The Post adds that:

The text of the detainee agreement was not released. A senior defense official said that Afghanistan will have full sovereign control of the facility, but that “an Afghan-led process with an opportunity for U.S. input will determine the disposition of detainees.”

The United States, the official said, has received “private assurances from Afghan officials that the most dangerous of the detainees will not be released.”