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U.S., Afghanistan okay detention center transfer

WASHINGTON — The United States has reached an agreement with the Afghanistan government to transfer the Parwan Detention Facility to Afghan control, the Pentagon said Saturday, two weeks after negotiations broke down over whether the United States would have the power to block the release of some detainees.

A senior U.S. official told the Associated Press that a key element to the agreement is that the Afghans can invoke a procedure that insures prisoners considered dangerous would not be released from the detention center. The agreement also includes a provision that allows the two sides to work together to resolve any differences. The official lacked authorization to discuss the details of the agreement publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Transfer of the Parwan detention center on Monday is critical to the ongoing effort to gradually shift control of the country's security to the Afghans as the United States and allies move toward the full withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014.

Afghans demanded control of the center, but U.S. officials have worried that the most threatening detainees would be freed once the United States transferred control. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday as officials finalized the agreement after intense negotiations.

The senior official said U.S. and Afghan officials who are familiar with the detainees would meet to assess the potential danger of their release to coalition forces. The official said that more senior level officials could be brought in if there are disagreements but that to date the two sides have been able to agree without bringing in those higher authorities.

Deaths As of Saturday, 2,059 U.S. troops have died in the war in Afghanistan. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

Army Chief Warrant Officer James E. Groves, 37, Kettering, Ohio; death March 16 in Kandahar under investigation.

U.S., Afghanistan okay detention center transfer 03/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 23, 2013 10:05pm]
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