|A newly freed Afghan prisoner receives his discharge letter after a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities, at the U.S. airbase in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 10, 2012. The U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Monday morning handed over the full control of a key U.S.-run prison, the Bagram Detention Center to the Afghan Defense Ministry, authorities said. (Xinhua/Ahmad Massoud)
BAGRAM, Afghanistan, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Monday morning handed over the full control of a key U.S.-run prison -- the Bagram Detention Center to the Afghan Defense Ministry, authorities said.
"Today, we saw another significant step towards the transition process from coalition forces to the Afghan army and police by handing over the control of Bagram detention center from our international partners to Afghan army," Afghan acting-Defense Minister Hinayatuula Nazari told the audience in a ceremony held here in the facility located near the Bagram Airbase, the main U.S. military base, some 50 km north of Kabul.
The ceremony was attended by high-ranking Afghan, U.S. and NATO military officials.
The top U.S. and NATO Commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen and the former Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak signed an agreement on March 9 over the transfer of the facility to Afghan government within six months.
According to the document signed on March 9, Afghanistan will consult with the United States before the release of inmates, including release prior to indictment of transferred detainees.
The United States is to continue its presence at the facility in order to provide advisory, technical and logistical support for a period of one year starting from March 9 this year, according to the agreement.
More than 3,000 prisoners including hundreds of suspected Taliban and al-Qaida operatives, who have been detained by Afghan forces and NATO-led troops within the past years, have been held in Bagram detention center, according to Safiullah Safi a military police commander in the prison.
More than 1,000 Afghan army and military police personnel will provide security for the facility, according to Safi.