KABUL, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The joint press conference of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel scheduled for Sunday afternoon was canceled.
Officials with the press office of Afghan Presidential Palace, which had invited certain news agencies for the proposed press conference, informed the invited journalists on Sunday afternoon via telephone that the program was canceled.
On Saturday evening the officials had invited journalists to come to "Presidential Palace on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. local time" without giving details. Officials in Afghanistan often keep secret on the arrival and departure of foreign dignitaries due to security reasons.
But it was guessed that the guest in the press conference with President Karzai is U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who arrived Afghanistan on Friday to have first-hand knowledge on the security situation in Afghanistan and also to meet President Karzai.
On Saturday, a day after of Hagel's arrival, a suicide attack claimed nine lives in the capital city of Kabul and injured 13 others.
The U.S. military had planned to hand over the control of Bagram prison to the Afghan government during Hagel's visit but the program was postponed.
President Karzai has been calling for early handing over of the detention center where hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaida operatives reportedly have been held by the U.S. military.
The U.S. military leadership according to media reports has agreed to hand over the prison to the Afghan government within a week but is reluctant to set free those detainees whom the U.S. commanders describe as very dangerous.
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