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Pakistan to formally raise Bagram prisoners’ issue with Kabul

Islamabad, Sept. 18 (ANI): Since the Bagram airbase has now been handed over to the Afghan authorities, Pakistan has decided to formally raise the issue of its prisoners at the detention facility with the Afghan government, officials have said.

According to Afghan sources, Pakistan is seeking repatriation of its prisoners who have been languishing at Bagram for years. But they were not sure if the U.S. has so far handed over all Pakistani detainees at Bagram – located some 60 kilometres north of Kabul, reports The Express Tribune.

Sources said U.S. officials have also handed over 53 foreign prisoners out of the nearly 3,000 prisoners to Afghan authorities, at the time of the transfer of the prison last week.

They said Afghan authorities are in the process of determining the identity of these foreigners.

Pakistan had previously raised the issue of its prisoners with Afghan authorities in Kabul but the Afghan government had asked Pakistan to wait until the prison is handed over to them.

A controversy resurfaced earlier on Sunday, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai angrily reacted to the delay in the transfer of Afghan prisoners and considered it a “serious breach” of the MoU signed between Afghanistan and the U.S.

President Karzai met with U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman and his delegation in Kabul on Sunday and among the issues central to discussions were the recent handover of Bagram Prison to Afghan authorities and the transfer of over 600 Afghan inmates still held by the American forces.

Referring to the additional protocol II of the Geneva Convention used by the U.S. as a governing basis that allows for an indefinite detention with no trial of the accused, Karzai stressed that the Afghan judicial authorities will express their views at the soonest on the compliance of the protocol with national laws as mentioned in the MoU.

However, the continued detention of Afghans in American custody runs in contradiction with the spirit of mutual friendship and the provisions of the bilateral strategic partnership agreement, an official statement had said. (ANI)