KABUL -- The US and Afghan governments signed a deal Friday on the handover of the main US-run prison facility in the country.
The transfer of the detention center at Bagram Air Base to Afghan control in six months' time will remove one of two main obstacles holding up a wider pact outlining the US military presence in Afghanistan after most international forces have withdrawn in 2014.
The agreement on what is known officially as the Parwan Detention Center was signed by the US commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, and the Afghan defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak at a ceremony in Kabul on Friday.
"The signing of this memorandum is an important step forward in our Strategic Partnership negotiations and very much in keeping with both the Loya Jirga's recommendations and the desires of President Karzai," Allen said in a statement issued by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
"It is yet another example of the progress of transition, and our efforts to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists," he added.
The agreement paves the way for a wider deal on the plan to support Afghanistan for years to come which will be hammered out at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Chicago in May.