Afghans not ready to take over detainee ops, Sen. Brown says

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Running U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan is one of many missions Afghan security forces will assume once coalition troops begin to rotate out of the country next year. On Friday, U.S. commanders agreed to hand over control of the Parwan terrorist detention facility to Afghans.

The facility, located at the U.S. Air Force base in Bagram, houses roughly 3,000 insurgents captured by U.S. and coalition forces. Initially designed as a temporary holding point for suspected terrorists, the Parwan facility now holds more prisoners than the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

While U.S. and coalition forces are planning to expand the size of the Parwan prison in preparation for the handover, the sheer scope of the job would likely overwhelm the cadre of Afghan soldiers overseeing it, Brown said.

“I've seen the caliber of an Afghan corrections officer soldier ... [and] I've got to be honest with you, I have deep concerns,” he said.

Gen. James Mattis, head of Central Command, sought to alleviate some of Brown’s concerns regarding the handover during the hearing. Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker are in negotiations with their counterparts at the Afghan Ministry of Defense on the detainee situation, Mattis said during the hearing.

“What we want is the right agreement,” Mattis said of the talks. “We want to make certain we’re not turning people over before the Afghans are ready to take care of them."