A Chance at Re­demp­tion

Repa­tri­at­ing Pak­istani de­tainees from the Ba­gram prison in Afghanistan and guar­an­tee­ing them jus­tice could be Pak­istan’s only chance at mak­ing some pos­i­tive head­way. But both gov­ern­ments show lit­tle re­solve in do­ing so.

Southasia - - Af-pak - By Om­ran Bel­hadi

Ba­gram prison lies ad­ja­cent to the Ba­gram Air­field, 40 kilo­me­ters north­east of Kabul. In the early days of the Afghan war, Ba­gram started out as a col­lec­tion point where U.S. troops would bring cap­tured mil­i­tants be­fore trans­port­ing them to Guan­tanamo. As con­tro­versy over Guan­tanamo Bay grew and court chal- lenges to the Cuban base’s de­ten­tion scheme pro­gressed, Ba­gram be­came a more crit­i­cal per­ma­nent fa­cil­ity for in­def­i­nite U.S. de­ten­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a report ti­tled, “De­tained and De­nied in Afghanistan,” pub­lished by Hu­man Rights First, from Jan­uary 2009 when Pres­i­dent Obama came into of­fice to mid-2011, the to­tal de­tainee pop­ula- tion in Ba­gram nearly tripled, from 650 de­tainees to 1,900.

On March 9, 2012, the U.S. and Afghanistan signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing, trans­fer­ring of­fi­cial con­trol of de­ten­tion cen­ters and Afghan de­tainees to Afghan hands. While the great ma­jor­ity of Ba­gram de­tainees are Afghan na­tion­als, ap-

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