U.S. still has control at Parwan as deadline looms

Wonk watch: Open Society Foundations "Remaking Bagram: The Creation of an Afghan Internment Regime and the Divide over U.S. Detention Power" (OSI) Tough transition Though a March 9 agreement with Afghanistan stipulated that the United States transfer control of the Parwan detention facility at Bagram Air Base to the Afghans by September 9, the U.S. ...

ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images
ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images
ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images

Wonk watch: Open Society Foundations "Remaking Bagram: The Creation of an Afghan Internment Regime and the Divide over U.S. Detention Power" (OSI)

Tough transition

Though a March 9 agreement with Afghanistan stipulated that the United States transfer control of the Parwan detention facility at Bagram Air Base to the Afghans by September 9, the U.S. military appears set to retain control indefinitely over about 50 foreign detainees, as well as all Afghans who are newly detained (NYT). The U.S. military's continued role shows the complexity of trying to put detention and interrogation activities in Afghan hands while American troops are still conducting combat operations in the country.

Wonk watch: Open Society Foundations "Remaking Bagram: The Creation of an Afghan Internment Regime and the Divide over U.S. Detention Power" (OSI)

Tough transition

Though a March 9 agreement with Afghanistan stipulated that the United States transfer control of the Parwan detention facility at Bagram Air Base to the Afghans by September 9, the U.S. military appears set to retain control indefinitely over about 50 foreign detainees, as well as all Afghans who are newly detained (NYT). The U.S. military’s continued role shows the complexity of trying to put detention and interrogation activities in Afghan hands while American troops are still conducting combat operations in the country.

Afghanistan’s top military commander, Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, admitted Wednesday that the rising incidence of insider attacks by Afghan security forces on their NATO counterparts is not fully attributable to infiltration by foreign spy agencies as Afghan officials had previously claimed (Post). Karimi said senior military officers don’t give their subordinates enough guidance, so "they don’t know why we are fighting."

A new report by Human Rights Watch claims that a suspected Libyan terrorist was waterboarded by the CIA in Afghanistan, contradicting the official U.S. narrative that just three high-level al-Qaeda suspects were ever subjected to waterboarding, none of them Libyan (NYT).

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasool and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi signed a deal on Wednesday giving land-locked Afghanistan access to the Iranian port of Chabahar on the Indian Ocean (AP). And a senior Pakistani official confirmed Thursday that Pakistan signed a barter deal with Iran last month to trade wheat for fertilizer, despite U.S. pressure to continue isolating Iran over its nuclear program (ET).

Peace talk prep

Meanwhile, Pakistani, Afghan, and U.S. officials in Islamabad on Wednesday discussed ways to provide safe passage to Taliban leaders for their participation in peace negotiations in Qatar, where the Taliban established an office last year before breaking off talks earlier this year over what they called broken promises on the part of the United States (AP). The group of officials is focused on deciding which Taliban leaders will be provided with security, visa assistance, and other logisitics support for their potential trips to Qatar.

In a statement released Thursday, Human Rights Watch accused the Pakistani government of "persistent failure" to stem sectarian attacks against the minority Shi’a community, which has witnessed the deaths of more than 320 people in such attacks this year (AFPThe NewsTel). The Pakistani government on Thursday ordered all foreign staff of the aid group Save the Children out of the country (APReuters). Their expulsion follows recent allegations that the organization helped CIA officers meet with Dr. Shakil Afridi, the man accused of helping the U.S. spy agency hunt down Osama bin Laden.

Three suspected terrorists were killed Thursday when explosives appeared to be detonated accidentally at a home in Bhakkar, Punjab Province (ET). Earlier in the day, police foiled a suicide bombing attempt in Peshawar when they killed one of two suspected bombers. A new CNN opinion piece analyzes President Obama’s heavy use of drones, as well as the drone campaign’s shifting targets and future (CNN).

Breaking tradition

The number of Pakistani women eloping and marrying for love against their parents’ wishes has reportedly been on the rise since the country legalized marriage without the consent of a woman’s guardian in 2003 (NYT). But many families still appear willing to stop at nothing to prevent such "dishonor," often accusing their daughter’s husband of kidnapping her, or even sending assassins to kill the couple.

Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.