Washington: Determined to thin down the number of detainees at the ill-famed Guantanamo detention centre in Cuba, the Obama administration will in coming months, transfer dozens of inmates, the CNN reported.
The report comes just a week after the US declared that it repatriated four Gitmo detainees back to Afghanistan.
As a part of increased efforts aimed towards closure of the infamous Bay in Cuba, the US will move at least five detainees in next few days and dozens more in early part of the next year, the CNN cited an official as saying.
The move is the latest in a series of transfers during the past two months. President Barack Obama has been pushing to reduce the number of detainees as he tries to make progress toward his goal of closing the globally condemned detention center for suspected terrorists. But only time will tell if the President will manage to get the detention centre closed in his tenure.
Guantanamo now holds the lowest number of detainees (132) since shortly after it opened nearly 13 years ago in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Those remaining include 64 approved for transfer.
Before he can close Guantanamo, Obama faces the challenge of working out what to do with any detainees who aren't cleared for transfer — either because the United States wants to prosecute them or continuing holding them because they are considered too dangerous to release. Congress has passed legislation blocking detainees from coming to the U.S. for detention or trial.
Obama issued a statement last week objecting to congressional restrictions on closing Guantanamo. He said shutting down the detention facility was a "national imperative." He also noted that the US recently ended its operations of prisons for suspected terrorists in Afghanistan by releasing the final three detainees from the Parwan Detention Center.
"Yet halfway around the world, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains open for the 13th consecutive year, costing the American people hundreds of millions of dollars each year and undermining America's standing in the world," Obama said.
He added, "The continued operation of this detention facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists."
Some Guantanamo opponents are questioning whether the United States has the authority to continue detaining prisoners captured in the Afghan conflict after the end of combat operations at year's end.
With Agency Inputs