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U.S. to Transfer Custody of Afghan Detainees

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2005 – The United States and the Afghan government have agreed to eventually transfer Afghan citizens now in U.S.-coalition custody to Afghan control, a senior DoD spokesman said here today.

Arrangements will be made before any such detainee transfer to ensure that the Afghan government can assume custody of its citizen-detainees, spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

"We intend to assist the government of Afghanistan in building a capacity to detain these individuals," to include "ensuring that the government of Afghanistan has the necessary facilities and appropriately trained personnel to handle them," Whitman noted.

The transfer could affect 100 Afghans now in custody at the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as 350 Afghans being detained at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Whitman cited a news release posted today by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that said President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai discussed the issue during Karzai's visit to Washington in May.

"The Government of Afghanistan will accept responsibility for the returning Afghan citizens and will work to ensure they do not pose a continuing threat to Afghanistan, the Coalition, or the international community as a whole," the embassy release stated.

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U.S. Embassy Press Release


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