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Hagel, Karzai seek deal on detainees within 1 week

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ROBERT BURNS | March 16, 2013 01:34 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has held new talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on a nettlesome disagreement over the stalled transfer of a key detention center to Afghan control.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Hagel and Karzai discussed the dispute by phone on Saturday. He said they agreed to try to resolve it within one week.

Control of the Parwan Detention Center is a firm Afghan demand, but U.S. officials fear that some of the most threatening detainees would be freed once the U.S. gives up control. Karzai discussed the matter on Wednesday with the top U.S. commander there, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, with no resolution.

The U.S. was scheduled to hold a ceremony marking the transfer of control last weekend during Hagel's visit to Afghanistan.