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Afghans Held In U.S. Custody To Be Repatriated

Hundreds of Afghans are held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba 4 August 2005 -- Afghanistan and the United States said today in a joint declaration that all Afghans held in U.S. military custody will be returned to Afghanistan to be detained there.

The American military holds hundreds of Afghans at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at other detention facilities. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged President George W. Bush to send them home.

A joint statement published today in Kabul says that the United States will gradually transfer Afghan detainees to the exclusive custody and control of the Afghan government. It says that Afghanistan will accept responsibility for the returned Afghan citizens and work to ensure that they do not threaten the United States.

Karzai's spokesman, Karim Rahimi, said the agreement means that all Afghans held at Guantanamo and elsewhere would be handed over.

The statement gave no schedule for the repatriation. U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said it will start as soon as the Afghan government has the capacity to detain them.