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U.S. agrees to detention transfer

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, March 23, 2013, 6:42 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The United States has reached an agreement with the Afghan government to transfer the Parwan Detention Facility to Afghan control, the Pentagon said on Saturday, two weeks after negotiations broke down over whether the United States would have the power to block the release of some detainees.

According to a senior U.S. official, a key element to the agreement is that the Afghans can invoke a procedure that ensures prisoners considered dangerous would not be released from the detention center.

The agreement also includes a provision that allows the two sides to work together to resolve any differences. The official lacked authorization to discuss the details of the agreement publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Transfer of the Parwan detention center on Monday is critical to the ongoing effort to gradually shift control of the country's security to the Afghans as the United States and allies move toward the full withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014.

Afghans demanded control of the center, but U.S. officials have worried that the most threatening detainees would be freed once the United Statestransferred control. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday as officials finalized the deal after days of intense negotiations.

The senior official said U.S. and Afghan officials who are familiar with the detainees would meet to assess the potential danger of their release to coalition forces. The official said that more senior-level officials could be brought in if there are disagreements but that, to date, the two sides have been able to agree without bringing in those higher authorities.

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