The Straits Times
Published on Nov 22, 2012

Afghan president demands release of US-held prisoners


KABUL (REUTERS) - Afghanistan's president has demanded the release of dozens of prisoners from United States custody and says all inmates held in breach of an agreement must be transferred immediately to Afghan authorities.

President Hamid Karzai's call for "urgent actions" by Thursday came days after the start of complex bilateral talks on a security pact on the role the US would play in Afghanistan after most of its troops are withdrawn by the end of 2014.

The president's demands follow a meeting with top defence, police and legal officials who inspected Bagram prison and concluded the US had violated an agreement governing the transfer of the jail to Afghan control.

He issued a statement giving the US until Thursday to act swiftly to "set free all the inmates that need to be released as per Afghanistan applicable laws" and hand over any prisoners who were captured by US forces after the bilateral agreement had been signed.