Last March, the US and Afghan governments signed an agreement that led to the transfer of most detainees held at the Parwan detention facility, located north of Kabul, to Afghan authority.
This transfer brings significant changes for many detainees previously held by the US in an internment framework that was inscribed in international humanitarian law. The majority of detainees will now enter an Afghan judicial process that will ultimately lead to sentencing or release; some will continue to be held under an internment framework, but under Afghan authority. Detainees remaining in US custody at Parwan will, like those held under Afghan authority, continue to be visited by the ICRC for as long as the US detains them there.
Gregor Mueller is Protection Coordinator in Afghanistan and supervises all visits and interventions made with detaining authorities in the country. He explains the role his teams will continue to play, including monitoring the treatement and conditions of detention of detainees, maintaining family links between them and their families and intervening confidentially with detaining authorities on issues of concern.
Mr. Mueller also puts the Parwan transfer in proper perspective. Most media have focused on the fate of the approximately 3,000 detainees held at Parwan but they represent only a small fraction of the overall detainee population in Afghanistan, where Mr. Mueller's teams visit over 25,000 detainees in approximately 100 facilities day in, day out.