NATO order last year ended Canadian transfer of Taliban prisoners to Afghans

Afghan policemen stand in front of gate of the main prison in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan in this April 25, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Allauddin Khan

OTTAWA - Canadian troops quietly stopped handing captured Taliban fighters over to Afghan authorities in mid-2011, almost six months before the Harper government publicly acknowledged the change to the controversial policy.

It was an order by NATO's southern command in Afghanistan that ultimately ended the politically incendiary practice.

The halt to transfers happened just as the Canadian combat mission in Kandahar drew to a close and U.S. forces took full control of the restive province.

NATO, in a sweeping July 2011 directive, ordered all units to cease handovers to not only the notorious Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, but also the Afghan National Police and Afghan Border Police.

The country's top military commander, Gen. Walt Natynczyk, ordered that Canadian-captured detainees be redirected to another facility.

Diplomats at Foreign Affairs began negotiations almost immediately to send prisoners to a U.S. detention facility in Parwan, located outside of Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul.

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