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April 22, 2021
WORLD

U.S hands over controversial Bagram jail

The U.S. military has handed control of a controversial prison housing more than 3,000 Taliban fighters and terrorism suspects to the Afghan authorities, the BBC informs. In a small ceremony, Afghan officials said inmates had been transferred to their authority. The move is part of a deal to transfer all Afghan prisons back to local control ahead of the withdrawal of NATO forces at the end of 2014. Bagram prison has been at the centre of a number of prisoner abuse allegations. Although Afghan President Hamid Karzai has hailed the handover, disagreements with the US remain.  Washington is insisting that it will maintain control over some detainees in the prison. The handover came as it emerged that the Taliban were open to a general ceasefire or political agreement allowing for a continuing US military presence after 2014. A briefing paper by the Royal United Services Institute contains interviews with four senior Taliban figures, in which they say they will not negotiate with President Karzai but are prepared to renounce their association with al-Qaeda as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. The handover took place at a brief ceremony which correspondents say was poorly attended by U.S. and NATO officers. “ Now officially known as the Parwan Detention Centre, Bagram prison lies about 40km (25 miles) north of the capital, Kabul. The US military still wants to run a section of the jail and is not handing over hundreds of detainees, saying it has the right to hold insurgents caught on the battlefield, the BBC’s Jonathan Beale in Kabul reports. These include about 50 foreigners not covered by the handover agreement signed in March. That has angered the Afghan president, who says that full Afghan control is an issue of sovereigntAttack in Kunduz ‘kills 11 police’A suicide attack has hit a crowded area of the city of Kunduz in north-eastern Afghanistan, killing 11 policemen, the city’s deputy police chief says. The attacker had targeted officers who had gathered to provide security for a demonstration, he added. Fifteen civilians are reported to have been injured. Police have now closed off the scene. Last month 12 people died in Kunduz province in one of several blasts at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan. Ambulances have taken some people to a nearby hospital.

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