Karzai Meets US Officials, Demands Bagram Transfer
 
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President Hamid Karzai Monday emphasised the importance of the US transferring Bagram prison detainees to Afghan authorities in a meeting with David Pearce, the acting special representative of the US to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The pair met to further discuss matters raised in the president's recent trip to Washington which Karzai described as very productive, according to a statement from the president's office.

"President Karzai once again thanked the US for the warm hospitality it extended to the Afghan delegation and noted that it was important that the US now puts into practice the agreements reached in Washington, in particular the full transfer of Bagram prison to Afghan authority and any delay, otherwise, may raise suspicion among the people of Afghanistan," it said.

The transfer of prisoners from US to Afghan authority was a key condition of Kabul when it signed last March a long-term strategic agreement with Washington.

Until now, the full transfer has not taken place although US President Barack Obama told Karzai during his US visit that it will happen soon.

However, fresh concerns over the treatment of prisoners in Afghan jails is likely to present a new obstacle for Karzai's demands.

Nato on Monday said that it is suspending transfer of detainees to Afghan prisons after a report this week from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) revealed systemic torture of prisoners in more than 30 Afghan jails.

It is the second time Nato has banned transfers to address human rights concerns in Afghan prisons. It first did so after a similar Unama report in 2011 detailed widespread abuse, including the ripping out of detainees' toenails and the twisting of their genitals.

Nato halted prisoner transfers for several months and only resumed them after inspections and training. But the latest report has reignited concerns and Nato renewed its ban.

Karzai also discussed with Pearce the peace process and the Qatar office for the Taliban.

"On the issue of Qatar office to be opened for peace talks with the Taliban, President Karzai once again underlined Afghan government's position that those Taliban who take part in the peace negotiations must prove their credibility and hold verifiable authorisation of the Taliban leadership," the statement said.

The president added that there must be a clear and written understanding among Afghanistan, the US and Qatar on the Taliban office opening and follow up arrangements for the peace process, it said.

"President Karzai made it clear that only the High Peace Council can represent the people of Afghanistan at the peace talks, as it was authorized by the Peace Jirga and created by the will of the Afghan people," it added.

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