The U.S alleges that the Tajiks are also Al-Qaeda members, with ties to allied groups in Central Asia, according to Caggins. The Pentagon’s later claim about the Tajiks is the same explanation given in the case of the Uzbek prisoner, Muso Akhmadjanov.
The Egyptian prisoner is Abu Ikhlas al-Masri, who the Pentagon alleges is an Al-Qaeda member with ties to the Afghan Taliban and related Afghan and Kashmiri groups.
No proof or any details about any of these allegations have been provided.
Bagram, a former Soviet base, became a detention site in late 2001 when the U.S. took it over, using it as a clearinghouse for prisoners detained during the U.S. occupation after 9/11. Many were sent to Guantánamo, but after a landmark 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rasul v. Bush, which gave Guantánamo prisoners the right to challenge their detention, George W. Bush’s administration effectively halted the transfer of prisoners from Bagram to Guantánamo, where they would have more rights. By 2011, there were 1,700 prisoners at Bagram, according to Human Rights First.
The Parwan facility began transitioning from U.S. to Afghan control in January 2011, with Afghan and Pakistani prisoners eventually handed over to their governments. A Russian prisoner, Irek Ilgiz Hamiddulin, was transferred to the U.S. and appeared in federal court. He pleaded not guilty to charges relating to an attack on U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, and his trial is set for April.
While the U.S. gave Afghanistan control of Parwan on March 25, 2013, it maintained control over a special facility where third-country nationals were held, according to the Pentagon. The U.S. handed over that last facility on Nov. 1, 2014, and the U.S. was unable to transfer the remaining six prisoners before then. Under the security agreement now in force, the U.S. is not permitted to maintain or operate detention facilities on Afghan soil.
But inheriting Parwan prisoners has put the Afghan government in a dilemma, according to Kate Clark, the country director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent research organization that first reported the identities of the six men. “They have had these people dumped on them, and they are trying to find a legal solution,” she said, adding that Kabul was reluctant to simply free the men without reviewing their cases.
The Afghan commander of the facility, Gen. Faruq Barakzai, has told local media that the men would not be held without trial.
IJN’s Foster is encouraged by the willingness of the Afghans to reject the U.S. model of holding detainees without due process.
That marks what she and Human Rights Watch senior national security counsel Laura Pitter see as a welcome change. The U.S. “has locked up scores of men without charge or trial for years,” she said, “and now as they are about to leave [Afghanistan], rather than prosecuting or releasing them as they should have done years ago, they simply transfer them to Afghanistan without any proper review or process.”
She raised concern that the men could be subjected to torture, which has been widespread in Afghanistan’s prisons, and urged that they be speedily released, absent any evidence that could serve as a basis for prosecution.