Control over the prison was handed to Kabul in September, but U.S. commanders opted to retain custody on a number of detainees as part of the deal. That caveat drew harsh criticism from the Karzai government, who claimed the move infringed on Afghan sovereignty.
On Monday, Marine Corps and head of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan Gen. Joseph Dunford said U.S. and Afghan negotiators are working "as expeditiously as possible" to come up with a handover plan that guarantees the safety of U.S. personnel in country while respecting Karzai's authority.
But in the end, Dunford's goal is to "to ensure that those people who need to be off the battlefield for us to accomplish the mission" remain under lock and key.
The four-star general declined to comment on the details of the Parwan negotiations, saying he did not want to "do anything to jeopardize the relationship I have with my Afghan counterparts" in the run up to the White House''s 2014 deadline to have all U.S. combat troops out of the country.
The current impasse over Parwan and the eventual agreement on the prison will "really inform our presence post 2014," Dunford said.
The details of that pending deal would shed some light into "strategic framework within which the relationship of Afghanistan and the coalition and the United States specifically will be established," Dunford said.
For its part, the White House said it remains "fully committed" to the complete transfer of Parwan to the Karzai government and the Afghan National Security Forces.
"We respect Afghan sovereignty and intend to proceed with the transfer once we have reached full agreement," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Monday.
"We will work out those details and make the transfer of the facility to the Afghans," he added, declining to comment on whether the administration was concerned that Karzai would release terror suspects in U.S. custody once the prison transfer deal is complete.
The notion of releasing high-value terror suspects being held at Parwan is one of many recent remarks by Karzai that has clouded U.S.-Afghan relations in preparation for the American drawdown in the country.
On Sunday, Karzai accused Washington of collaborating with the Taliban as a way to destabilize his hold on power in Afghanistan.
Last month, the Afghan president ordered U.S. special operations units out of Wardak province, amid allegations of murder, torture and abuse of Afghan civilians at the hands of those forces.
A joint U.S.-Afghan inquiry into those allegations is still underway.
Some on Capitol Hill are concerned Karzai's recent statements and edicts restricting American operations in the run up to the 2014 withdrawal could place U.S. and allied forces at risk.
Sensing the end is near, local and national leaders are doing all they can to solidify their power bases across Afghanistan, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told The Hill last month.
That pressure could force Afghan leaders -- particularly at the provincial and district level -- to forge alliances with the Taliban rather than the central government, to fill the power vacuum left after 2014, Thornberry, who chairs the House Armed Services emerging threats and intelligence subcommittee, said.
Dunford sought to defuse those growing tensions between Washington and Kabul, telling reporters on Monday that solidifying Afghan ties "is actually the most important thing to me" in light of the coming American withdrawal.
"I think, right now, what President Karzai is doing that's helpful is he's sharing [those concerns] with us," Dunford said.