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U.S., Afghanistan agree to move quickly on prison transfer

English.news.cn   2013-03-17 08:14:07            

WASHINGTON, March 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed on Saturday to move quickly to smooth over a festering dispute over the transfer of the Bagram prison to the Afghan government.

The Pentagon said the issue was discussed when the pair spoke by telephone about issues of shared concern.

"They agreed to use the next week to conduct intensive work with a view to concluding an agreement that fully recognizes Afghan sovereignty and our mutual interests in security of the Afghan people and our respective forces," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a brief statement.

The transfer of the Bagram prison in northern Kabul was originally planned for 2009 but has been repeatedly delayed due to disagreements over control of the detainees. The U.S. military had planned to hand over its control during Hagel's three-day visit last week, but put it off again.

U.S. commanders view some detainees as very dangerous while Karzai said he would set free all those detainees who have proven innocent once the prison facility is formally turned over.

The Afghan president suggested on Tuesday that the government might act unilaterally to secure control of the prison.

Karzai has conditioned the signing of a long-term agreement, which Washington is seeking for some U.S. troops to remain in the South Asian nation after most of NATO and American combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014, on the prison's transfer.

Editor: Hou Qiang
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