KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai prevented the American's highest envoy to the region from meeting the country's provincial governors out of concern for the dignitaries' safety, a spokesman for the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) Mohammad Bashir Bahram said Tuesday.
US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman was expected to meet Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor, Helmand governor Gulab Mangal, Herat governor Daud Shah Saba and Nangarhar governor Gul Agha Sherzoy in Kabul Tuesday, the official said.
People aware of Karzai's move say that the President feared the US envoy would discuss 2014 elections with his governors and so prevented the meeting.
Bahram said the meeting was cancelled because of the expansion of tensions and protests over the anti-Islamic amateur film "Innocence of Muslims".
"The meeting was about to happen but the President prevented them from coming to Kabul because of the release of the movie that abuses Islam," Bahram said, adding that he was also supposed to meet the governors to discuss the economic and security situation with them.
The halt also comes amid tensions over the transfer of prisoners in Bagram, north of Kabul.
The US handed over control of the large-scale detention facility and 3000 detainees to the Afghan government last week, but retained control of 600 detainees who have been captured since the agreement was signed in March.
Karzai released a statement Sunday saying that in a meeting with Grossman, the President demanded the US hand over the remaining 600 prisoners without delay. Any failure to do so will be regarded as a breach of the transfer agreement and an affront to Afghanistan's sovereignty.
The US Embassy responded Monday with a statement that it is committed to the transfer and fully respects Afghanistan's sovereignty, but it did not state when the transfer would happen. (Tolo News)