Kabul Mar 17 (Xinhua-ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed with U.S. new proposal to hand over Bagram prison to Afghan government within week, a statement released by Presidential Palace here said.
The agreement has taken place in the wake of inflammatory remarks by President Karzai last week and frequent delay of transferring the notorious detention center by the U.S. military.
“In a telephone conversation with President Karzai, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asked for a week time for a complete transfer of the Bagram Prison to Afghanistan sovereignty,” the statement released Saturday night said.
“President Karzai agreed with the new time request and reminded Secretary Hagel that the transfer has been delayed several times in the past and that this time the handover should take place,” the statement emphasized.
The transferring of Bagram prison in Bagram airbase, the main U. S. military bastion 50 km north of Kabul was scheduled to be handed over to Afghan government on Mar h 9 during Hagel’s first tour to Afghanistan but the program was cancelled which prompted Afghan president to lash out.
Frequent delay in handing over the Bagram prison where more than 2,000 suspected Taliban and al-Qaida operatives have been held was a source of tension between Kabul and its main allay Washington.
President Karzai has also announced to set free the innocent inmates after taking over the control of Bagram prison from American forces; while the U.S. military leadership according to media reports is reluctant to set free those detainees whom the U. S. commanders describe as very dangerous.
Earlier, President Karzai in a similar demand on February 24 had accused the U.S. military of harassing and torturing civilians in the central Wardak province and asked Defense Ministry to facilitate their withdrawal within two weeks from the restive province, an order has yet to be implemented.
According to local newspapers, the ordinary Afghans and Ulema or religious scholars have shown their support to President Karzai’s demand.
“Afghanistan’s Ulema Council in a statement released on Saturday said that if the U.S. military does not hand over Bagram prison to Afghan control and withdraw from Wardak province, its continued presence will be regarded as an ‘occupation’ of Afghanistan,” an English newspaper the Daily Outlook writes.
In a related development the Daily Outlook writes that, “More than 500 people stated a demonstration in Kabul on Saturday calling upon U.S. forces in Wardak’s provincial capital Maidan Shahr to leave as directed by President Hamid Karzai.”
Meantime, another newspaper the Daily Mandegar in its editorial on Sunday wrote that the “president has not achieved anything from its inflammatory statement and neither Taliban nor Pakistan has been satisfied of his anti-U.S. remarks.”
It also says that President Karzai noted that his remarks with regard to U.S. had been misinterpreted.(ANI)