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US releases final Afghan detainees

December 11, 2014

As NATO's Afghan combat mission winds down towards its December 31 withdrawal date, the US has released its final detainees from prisons there. One of the three prisoners was cited in the US Senate report on torture.

Parwan Detention Center in Bagram, Afghanistan
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

After pulling out of all Afghan prisons, the US is no longer holding any detainees, a US official said on Wednesday. The last "third-country nationals" in US custody in Afghanistan have been transferred and the US military is no longer operating any detention facilities there, the official added.

The release of the three final detainees from the Parwan Detention Center marks the end of US prison operations in Afghanistan after more than a decade of war.

Torture report

Two of the detainees, including Redha al Najar, a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, were transferred into Afghan custody for possible prosecution, while the third was not considered a threat and is now seeking resettlement in another country.

Al Najar's release came within a day of the publication of the US Senate report which detailed violations against terror suspects in the CIA's counterterrorism program. The report said al Najar's interrogation included "isolation in total darkness; lowering the quality of his food; keeping him at an uncomfortable [cold] temperature, playing music 24 hours a day and keeping him shackled and hooded."


In light of the report, US President Barack Obama said the CIA's rights violations "did significant damage to America's standing in the world."

The United Nations (UN) is now calling for senior US officials who authorized and tortured prisoners after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to be made accountable for committing human rights violations.

NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan will end on December 31, with some troops, including 850 from Germany's Bundeswehr, remaining in to country to aid the Afghan army and police. By the end of 2016, the only US military presence in Afghanistan will be at the embassy in Kabul.

ksb/jm (AFP, AP)