Afghan president postpones handover of US prison

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2012 2:00 PM
Afghan president postpones handover of US prison

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday claimed that an airstrike carried out by the international coalition killed eight children in eastern Afghanistan.

The Afghan leader said in a statement that the strike took place Wednesday in the Najrab district of Kapisa province, and that he has assigned a delegation of high-ranking officials and lawmakers to launch a comprehensive probe into the affair.

The coalition confirmed only that there was a "situation in Najrab district" that was being assessed by a team to determine what had happened. More information would be released when the assessment is completed, the coalition said in a statement.

Civilian casualties have caused serious tensions between the Afghan government and the international military coalition.

The U.N. has said that last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, although the largest cause of death for the more than 3,000 killed were roadside bombs. The total number civilian deaths caused by international and Afghan forces dropped last year, although the number of civilians killed by airstrikes targeting insurgents rose to 187 in 2011, the U.N. said.

Also Thursday, Karzai's office said it has extended by one month the deadline for the transfer of the main American military prison in the country. It said the United States had until March 9 to transfer authority of the prison to the Afghan government.

Parwan Detention Facility is located outside Bagram Air Field, a main NATO base north of the capital, Kabul.

The statement said the delay was caused by a lack of cooperation from the U.S. side.

There was no comment from the U.S.-led international coalition.

The prison holds 3,000 detainees, including Afghans and foreign insurgents, and was to have been handed over on Feb. 5.