the guardian., Saturday 20 September 2014
The United States has quietly released 14 Pakistani citizens from military detention in Afghanistan, where the US holds its most secret cohort of detainees in its war on terrorism.
The US military transferred the 14 to Pakistani government custody on Saturday. It did not publicize the release, as is typical with releases from the detention center on the outskirts of Bagram Airfield which is known formally as the Detention Facility in Parwan.
None of the 14 Pakistanis was ever charged with a crime. The US has held them in wartime detention, though it has not picked up many – perhaps most – of the non-Afghan detainees it holds in Afghanistan in Afghanistan itself.
Army Lieutenant Colonel Myles Caggins, the Pentagon’s spokesman for detention issues, said the release was “not hasty” and was “part of our ongoing efforts to draw down all our facilities in Afghanistan”. Unless the next Afghan president signs a garrisoning agreement with the US, as President Obama and his Nato allies urge, all Nato militaries must withdraw from the country by the end of the year.
Caggins said there were now “less than 15” non-Afghans detained at Bagram. In August, after the Yemenis and the Kazakh were released, US officials told the Washington Post the US held 27 non-Afghans there; that would bring the detainee population down to 13 after Saturday’s transfer. The Justice Project Pakistan said it did not know the total.