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Rediff.com  » News » US military hands over Bagram prison to Afghan govt

US military hands over Bagram prison to Afghan govt

March 26, 2013 09:58 IST

The United States forces in Afghanistan handed over the full control of a key US-run detention center -- the Bagram prison -- to the Afghanistan defence ministry on Monday, putting an end to a source of tension between Kabul and its main ally Washington.

An official ceremony was held there in Bagram prison, located next to the Bagram airbase, the main US military bastion 50 km north of Afghan capital Kabul.

The handing over of the facility was scheduled to take place during US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first tour to Afghanistan earlier this month but the programme was canceled for unknown reasons.

Handing over the control of Bagram prison to the Afghan government had been delayed several times over the past couple of years.

The frequent delay in handing over the Bagram prison where nearly 3,000 suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives are held was a source of tension between Afghanistan and the United States, recently.

The transfer of the prison is seen as a critical part of handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan government before withdrawal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

More than 1,000 Afghan army and military police personnel will provide security for the Bagram prison after taking over the control of the detention center, Safiullah Safi a military police commander in Bagram said.

Image: A newly freed prisoner walks after a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the US airbase in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan | Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Source: ANI