The US government is considering transferring suspected Taliban militants from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] to prisons in Afghanistan, officials told AP [report] on Saturday. The potential transfer is part of an ongoing effort by the US government to improve relations with the Taliban in an attempt to promote peace in Afghanistan. Any prisoner transfer is not likely to include the five most "high risk" Afghan prisoners detained in Guantanamo. A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official profile; JURIST news archive] in March announced [JURIST report] that plans to transfer the five prisoners back to their home country were moving forward, but US officials have said negotiations for those prisoners have been postponed. The US government has not confirmed any plans to transfer Guantanamo detainees.
Afghanistan authorities have been critical of US-run military prisons. In January, an investigative commission in Afghanistan issued a statement announcing allegations of abuse of prisoners [JURIST report] held by the US military at prisons in their country. The commission called for the transfer of all prisoners held by the US military to Afghan custody. Karzai created the commission [JURIST report] in June 2010. Afghan prisons have also come under fire in recent months. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported in October that prisoners in some Afghan-run detention facilities have been beaten and tortured [JURIST report]. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in September that the Afghan Local Police (ALP) force is committing serious abuses [JURIST report], and the Afghan government is doing little to hold the officials accountable.