At Last, US Hands Disputed Bagram Prison to Afghans
As John Kerry arrives in Kabul to meet with Karzai
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 25, 2013 6:56 AM CDT
This March 23, 2011 file photo shows Afghan detainees through a wire mesh fence inside the Parwan detention facility near Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)

(Newser) – John Kerry dropped in unexpectedly on Afghanistan today, as the US finally handed over control of a prison near Bagram Air Force Base, CNN reports. The transition follows long-running controversy over the site; the deal was announced a year ago, and was supposed to put Bagram in Afghan hands six months ago. But the US suspended detainee transfers, with an insider citing US worries over how Afghanistan would deal with certain cases at a prison that held Taliban figures. President Hamid Karzai, concerned over matters of sovereignty, had called the delay a "serious breach."

But the handover marks a step forward in US-Afghan relations, AFP notes."US control of Bagram was a rallying cry for the Taliban and an important issue for much of the Afghan public," notes an analyst. The transfer "highlights an increasingly confident, capable, and sovereign Afghanistan," says Gen. Joseph Dunford, head of international forces in Afghanistan. Kerry, meanwhile, is in Kabul to meet with Karzai in his first visit as secretary of state, CNN reports.

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Mar 25, 2013 7:14 PM CDT
Mass release/escape ....soon !
Mar 25, 2013 8:17 AM CDT
Stupid move, the convicts now run the prison
Mar 25, 2013 7:32 AM CDT
Looks like we've still got the same mentality as ever when it comes to the Taliban. Just don't talk to them and they'll go away. As if they were irrelevant. Hey John, their sill out there and their still not happy with the status quo. And where's that gas pipe line to Pakistan ? Or the minerals ? But wait, there's the poppies and the opium and it's time for harvest. Karzai can fatten his pockets as well as all his cronies with the drug money. And lets not forget all the American aid money that never sees the people it's intended for. Hey John, how much have you spent so far on your useless trip ? As if flying in and flying out was all that was needed to pacify the masses. Way to go John. Your now in the same league as the rest of those bone heads that make their cursory howdy, adios.