Afghan President Welcomes Order To Shut Guantanamo

Afghanistan's president applauded President Barack Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp within a year, saying the move will help rally the world to the fight against terrorism.

"This decision by the United States is a major step toward bringing more international support to the struggle against terrorism, and enlisting all nations in this war," President Hamid Karzai said in a statement issued late Thursday.

Obama's order will close a detention facility that has become a symbol of U.S. injustice in much of the Muslim world. Scores of Afghan citizens have passed through Guantanamo — as of October, 192 Afghans had been released from the facility, according to figures from a Freedom of Information Act request by U.S. human rights group One World Research.

Some of the 245 detainees currently held at Guantanamo would be released under the order, while others would be transferred elsewhere and later put on trial under terms to be determined.

Afghanistan's Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq Aleko told The Associated Press that the country was asked to take non-Afghan detainees from Guantanamo and refused.

Karzai's office also said he received a phone call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday in which they discussed the "joint struggle against terrorism and relations between the two countries."

The Afghan president thanked Clinton for the call so soon after taking her new position and "emphasized that Afghanistan is a friend of the United States," the statement said.


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