AMERICA has agreed to hand over control of Afghanistan's biggest prison to the Kabul government, removing a key obstacle to a new strategic agreement that would result in US troops staying in the country after 2014.
The transfer means Afghan security forces will be responsible for about 3000 detainees at Bagram, including the most senior insurgent captives, including some likely to have been detained by Australian troops.
It amounts to a significant US concession to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has made control of the prison a precondition for concluding a long-term deal on future relations with the US.
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One remaining obstacle is controversial night raids by coalition special forces. But General Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan Defence Minister, predicted this was likely to be resolved within a month. ''By signing these agreements, the ground will be paved for signing a strategic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan,'' he said. Read More