KABUL - The United States handed control of the controversial giant Bagram jail and its 3,000 suspected Taliban inmates to Afghan authorities on Monday, amid concerns the transfer could leave prisoners vulnerable to further rights abuses.

Hundreds of Afghan soldiers watched as an Afghan flag was hoisted in front of the prison at the huge US-run airfield north of Kabul, as part of a plan to withdraw foreign troops from combat operations in 2014.

"Today is a historical and glorious day for Afghanistan where Afghans are able to take the charge of the prison themselves," acting Defense Minister Enayatullah Nazari told a large crowd including US military officials.

In a move that has angered the Afghan government, the US plans to keep at least one block at the prison, where any suspected Taliban fighters or terrorists captured in future raids will be held before being handed over.

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