The Afghanistan government, which was embarrassed last April when nearly 500 prisoners escaped from its largest prison, has reached a deal with the U.S. to take custody of some 3,000 detainees within six months. The New York Times reports, "As a practical matter, American officials are expected to maintain day-to-day control over the 3,200 detainees, most of them suspected Taliban insurgents." But perhaps with the less-than-sterling Afghan record of keeping prisoners in mind, some U.S. officials worried ahead of the agreement between the U.S. and Afghan militaries that Taliban suspects would be released prematurely. There is also some concern about human rights abuses in Afghan prisons. Still, the prisoner handover has been a major sticking point threatening to implode talks between the two countries about a "strategic partnership" as the U.S. draws down troops in the region. U.S. ambassador Ryan C. Crocker told The Times, "I won't say they were the side that gave up the most,but the side that lost the most was the Taliban."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.