Under George W. Bush, the prison at Bagram was a central node in the network of "black sites" where U.S. intelligence personnel held suspected terrorists. Obama came into office calling for closure of such secret prisons where both the local Afghan authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross were excluded -- and where abuse, murder and torture have been documented. NATO allies with forces in Afghanistan also called for the closing of Bagram. And Afghans demanded that they should take over the prisoners. But the Afghan prison system is notoriously corrupt and also itself a site of torture. So U.S. hold on the Bagram prison and the prisoners continues.
The Obama administration did proscribe a procedure -- it can hardly be called a hearing or a court-- for determining which prisoners should remain locked away.
Candace Rondeaux of the International Crisis Group described actual workings of this legal mirage recently.
That's not satisfactory to the U.S. Therefore our military won't hand over many of the prisoners to the Afghans. Therefore Bagram must remain a U.S.-run prison for the foreseeable future. Therefore the war must go on. And therefore proud Afghans fume and individual prisoners are denied any resolution of their status.
Is this any way to run an empire?