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U.S. Says It Has Closed Its Final Detention Center In Afghanistan

The United States says that with the closing of its detention center at Bagram, it is no longer holding any prisoners in Afghanistan.

As Reuters puts it, the announcement was made late Wednesday and marks the end of a controversial chapter in U.S. history.

NBC News reports the U.S. gave up custody of its two final prisoners:

"Redha al-Najar, a Tunisian who was suspected of having been one of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards, had been in U.S. custody since May 2002. A defense official said al-Najar and a second Tunisian, Lutfi al-Arbai al-Gharisi, were turned over to Afghan authorities Wednesday, just a day after the Senate report detailed what it characterized as widespread abuses of U.S. detainees since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A Jordanian detainee was also released for repatriation, the officials said.

"The Pentagon told NBC News that it 'no longer operates detention facilities in Afghanistan nor maintains custody of any detainees' after the final handover. Under Washington's agreement with Kabul, the handoff to Afghanistan wasn't due to go into effect until Jan. 1. Defense officials said they couldn't explain why the U.S. was getting out three weeks early."

The U.S. is scheduled to end its battle operations in the country at the end of the year.

Back in May, President Obama said the U.S. would leave a residual force of 9,800 in Afghanistan, but earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 10,800 American troops would remain in the country.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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