Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan Minister of Defense, signs a memorandum of understanding that will guide the process for the Ministry of Defense to take the lead on assuming responsibility for the newly-completed detention facility in Parwan.
KABUL, Afghanistan (Jan. 10, 2009) – Afghan government officials signed a memorandum of understanding recently that will guide the process for the Ministry of Defense to take the lead on assuming responsibility for the newly-completed U.S. Detention Facility in Parwan.
As stated in the memorandum, signed Jan. 9. the Ministry of Defense will perform the custodial role and management functions for the transition of the detention facility. The Ministry of Defense will eventually transfer its role as custodian and manager of the facility to the Ministry of Justice, Central Prisons Directorate at a time to be determined by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The memo has the key ministries agreeing to identify and assign personnel to staff the facility, working alongside American personnel through the transition process. The Afghan National Army will train, equip and assign the bulk of necessary personnel for the guard force and headquarters staff, with the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Office, the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior assigning key staff to support the facility.
Those signing the memo included Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, Minister of Defense, M. Ishaq Aloko, Attorney General; Abdul Malik Kamawi, General Chief Administrator of the Supreme Court; Dr. Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai, Deputy Minister of Justice, Qaseem Ludin of the High Office of Oversight, and representatives from the National Directorate of Security and Ministry of Interior.
Also on hand for the signing were Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward, Commander of Joint Task Force 435.
Joint Task Force 435 was established by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last September to assume responsibility for detention operations in Afghanistan, including the care and custody of detainees at the new detention facility, oversight of detainee review processes, programs for the peaceful reintegration of detainees into society, and coordination with other agencies and partners for the promotion of the rule of law in Afghanistan.
The commitment, according to Afghan and U.S. officials, also reinforces the Case Management System for Criminal Justice Institutions, agreed upon by Afghan ministries on Oct. 17, 2009, thus strengthening the rule of law in Afghanistan.