Five detainees at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detention facility agreed to be transferred to Qatar, a spokesperson for Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official profile; JURIST news archive] announced Saturday. The detainees, who are associated with the Taliban [CFR backgrounder] and have been held at the prison for over ten years, are among the most dangerous [Reuters report] and "high risk" prisoners, according to US officials. Afghan authorities visited the prison this week to obtain consent from the prisoners to transfer. Efforts to transfer the Guantanamo prisoners are part of an overarching plan initiated by the Obama administration to peacefully negotiate with the Afghan government and Taliban leadership.
Afghanistan authorities have been critical of US-run military prisons. In January, an investigative commission in Afghanistan issued a statement announcing allegations of abuse of prisoners [JURIST report] held by the US military at prisons in their country. The commission called for the transfer of all prisoners held by the US military to Afghan custody. Karzai created the commission [JURIST report] in June 2010. Afghan prisons have also come under fire in recent months. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] reported in October that prisoners in some Afghan-run detention facilities have been beaten and tortured [JURIST report]. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported in September that the Afghan Local Police (ALP) force is committing serious abuses [JURIST report], and the Afghan government is doing little to hold the officials accountable.