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News number: 8805191301

17:16 | 2009-08-10


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Afghan Presidential Contender Vows Closure of Bagram Prison

TEHRAN (FNA)- A main rival of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the country's upcoming presidential voting pledged to close down Bagram Prison within 3 years if he is elected as Afghanistan's next president.

"I will shut down Bagram Prison and other jails and prisons under the control of international forces within 3 years. Following this period international forces will not have the right to incarcerate Afghan citizens," Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai told FNA.

Ghani, seen as one of two leading challengers Karzai, further asked for the adoption of a legal framework for the activity of the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan (ISAF), and criticized lack of regular meetings between the Afghan president and the commander of NATO forces in the country.

"In case I win presidency, NATO's commander (in Afghanistan) should hold a security meeting with me every other day so that all operations by the international forces will be coordinated with the Afghan government."

Ghani blamed mounting civilian casualties in Afghanistan on a lack of unity within the country's security forces.

About his government's security agendas, the presidential contender said that he would transform border areas into transit centers for the country, and voiced opposition to the closure of Afghanistan-Pakistan borders.

"I want to provide better conditions for cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Asian republics," Ghani went on saying.

He also assured Afghanistan's neighbors that the country's soil would not be used as a launching pad for an attack on the neighboring countries.

Afghanistan's presidential and provincial elections will be held on Aug 20, the second direct vote for president since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.