PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Jan. 17, 2011) — A new Afghan prison, known as Housing Unit Delta, opened on Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 at the Detention Facility in Parwan, marking the most significant milestone to date in the Afghan government’s growing capacity to assume responsibility for detention operations in Afghanistan.
“Today I am witnessing firsthand the transfer of Housing Unit Delta from Americans to the Afghans,” said Afghan National Army Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, chief of the general staff ANA, during a ceremony to mark the completion of the housing unit and its transfer to the Afghan government.
The opening of this new facility, operated under Afghan authority, is part of the broader conditions-based transition of detention operations. That transition process began a year ago when Afghan and U.S. government officials signed a memorandum of understanding designating the Ministry of Defense as the lead ministry responsible for the transition of detention operations.
“I am very happy today’s transfer is happening and we get this responsibility,” said Karimi.
HU-D is the first of three newly-constructed Afghan housing units scheduled to open in Parwan in the coming months. Afghan pre-trial detainees or post-trial convicts will occupy the new housing units, which will operate under Afghan law and procedure. These units will be operated by ANA Soldiers from the Parwan and Pol-E-Charki Military Police Brigade.
“This is a big honor that we get this job,” said ANA Brig. Gen. Safiullah Safi, Parwan and Pol-e-Charki Military Police Brigade commander. “I assure you that our military police will do the job according to our religion and according to our rules of Islam and according to the policy of the Minister of Defense.”
After completing basic corrections training last May, ANA military police completed advanced training at ANA Logistical Support Activity in Parwan to prepare for duty in the DFIP. The first cohort of ANA military police began working alongside their U.S. counterparts last July. ANA Soldiers are fully trained in the safe, secure, humane care and custody of prisoners in HU-D in accordance with international standards and Afghan law.
“We are excited to take responsibility for this unit,” said a Soldier assigned to HU-D, who has served six years in the ANA. “We are serving our country and the people of our country and we serve against the enemies of the country.”
The Soldiers will conduct daily housing unit operations in HU-D, including manning over watch stations, searching cells for contraband, escorting prisoners to and from appointments and overseeing recreation, daily hygiene and meal service for prisoners.
The design of the housing unit, in accordance with the International Committee of the Red Cross standards, allows for safe and humane care and effective management of the prison population. The housing unit consists of handicap accessible cells, communal cells, bathroom and shower facilities, classrooms and recreation yards with drinking fountains and toilets.
Meals, logistical support and medical care are currently provided by the U.S. government in partnership with the Afghan government until the conditions-based transition of detention operations to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is complete.
The new housing unit, like future housing facilities that will be transferred to the Afghan Government, is part of a larger Justice Center in Parwan. The JCIP includes not only corrections facilities but also office space and facilities for investigators, prosecutors, defense counsel, and judges assigned to work on national security cases. The Justice Center is intended to serve as Afghanistan’s central location for the pre-trial detention, investigation, prosecution and post-trial incarceration of national security threats.
The Parwan and Pol-E-Charki Military Police Brigade is responsible for the confinement of detainees and national security threats throughout Afghanistan, and for the training, equipping and assigning of ANA personnel for the guard force and headquarters staff at the DFIP. The Parwan and Pol-E-Charki Military Police Brigade also provides rapid reaction forces and quick reaction forces for emergency situations. The brigade, established in 2006, partners with CJIATF-435, the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior for the conditions-based transition of DFIP operations to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 has oversight for detention operations in Afghanistan, including care and custody of detainees, full implementation of detainee review procedures, and vocational and educational programs designed to facilitate the peaceful reintegration of detainees into society. CJIATF-435 serves as correction and detention operations advisors for their ANA partners. CJIATF-435 is conducting a conditions-based transition of detention operations to Afghan control while promoting Rule of Law practices.