US violating detainee pact: Hamid Karzai
Kabul: Afghanistan's president has accused US forces of continuing to capture and hold Afghans in violation of an agreement signed earlier this year between the two countries.
Hamid Karzai's statement, which did not include any specific demands for the US, was made days after the beginning of negotiations on a bilateral security agreement that will govern the US military presence in the country after the majority of troops draw down in 2014.
Karzai's critics say he frequently strikes populist, nationalist stances that give him leverage in talks with the Americans.
The Afghan president said some detainees are still being held by US forces even though Afghan judges have ruled that they be released. He also decried the continued arrest of Afghans by US forces.
The two countries signed the detainee transfer pact in March but the handover of detention facilities has been slowed by the US, which has argued both that the Afghans are not ready to take over their management and insisted that the Afghan government agree to hold without trial some detainees that the US deems too dangerous to release.
"These acts are completely against the agreement that has been signed between Afghanistan and the US President," said the statement, released by Karzai's office late yesterday after the president was briefed by judicial authorities on the transfer.
He urged Afghan officials to "take serious measures" to push for taking over all responsibility for the detention center on the edge of the main US base in eastern Afghanistan.
The detainee transfer agreement was one of two pacts that were key to a broad but vague strategic partnership agreement signed by Kabul and Washington in May that set forth an American commitment to Afghanistan for years to come.
The second pact covers "special operations" such as certain American raids and other conduct on the battlefield.
A third detailed pact dubbed the bilateral security agreement is now under negotiation, and covers logistical and legal questions such as the size and number of bases and the immunity of US forces from prosecution.
The two countries officially opened negotiations on the bilateral security agreement last week, and have given themselves a year to sign the pact.
Karzai is under pressure to give an appearance of upholding Afghan sovereignty which he has repeatedly claimed to champion without putting so many restrictions on US forces that an agreement becomes impossible.