09/10/2012, 00.00
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As Kabul takes over Bagram prison, Clinton spares the Taliban

The formal handover ceremony between the US and Afghanistan is held today. Although Washington would still like to hold onto some prisoners, Afghan President Karzai says no. Local AsiaNews sources say Afghans want to run things in accordance with their own traditions and culture as a free country. Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton slips on the Taliban, terrorism and 'black lists.' A decade of war might be in the end a waste.

Kabul (AsiaNews) - The United States has formally handed over control of Bagram prison to Afghanistan. More than 3,000 inmates, including Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, are held inside. The Americans want to keep some prisoners under their jurisdiction, but the Afghan President said that any delay in transferring prisoners would be seen as an attack against Afghan sovereignty.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Clinton had said that Haqqani network would we blacklisted as a terrorist organisation. The group, which operates in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, is considered close to the Taliban.

However, asked on Bloomberg Radio whether the Taliban would also be blacklisted, Ms Clinton skirted around the question by saying, "we do a very intensive analysis before we designate someone as a foreign terrorist organisation".

Local sources told AsiaNews, anonymous for security reasons, that such a statement is "contradictory" and show "an absolute lack of diplomatic seriousness".

On 9 March, the US and Afghanistan signed an agreement that would see Kabul take control of Bagram prison within six month. However, the two parties now disagree on whether 50 foreigners held in the detention centre, and some 600 people detained since the agreement are included.

Sources told AsiaNews that Karzai's resolve in asserting Afghan authorities is a signal "that Afghanistan wants to be itself. The Taliban are not the country's history and 2,000 years of history cannot be reduced to the Taliban."

"People have clearly said that they want an end to Western presence. People want to govern themselves, which is right and proper for any free country, according to their traditions, customs and religion. The West will just have been a blimp in Afghan history. Yet, this does not mean Taliban domination."

US troop pullout is set for 2014. At that point, the country will face two prospects. "We could have a military coup since in 10 years the West has trained an army spending 70 per cent of international aid, against 12 per cent in education. Or we could see a political dialect like in many European countries. Whatever the case, Afghanistan has the right to self-government. The international community must respect that, and must admit that 'our people died in vain and we spent our money in vain'."

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