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Military taking prisoners to Cuban base

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. military on Thursday began moving hooded and chained prisoners from the war in Afghanistan to a jail in Cuba.

Taliban and al-Qaida detainees were taken from prisons to Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan for movement to Guantanamo, Cuba, officials said. Later, a group of some 20 from among more than 300 in U.S. custody were shown on CNN shuffling to an airplane at the airport.

The trans-Atlantic move presents an unprecedented security challenge.

Prisoners were to be chained to their seats — and possibly be sedated, forced to use portable urinals and be fed by their guards — during the flights from Afghanistan to newly constructed jail cells in Guantanamo, according to newspaper and television reports.

Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke wouldn't comment on the reports except to say detainees were being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention rules on prisoners.

Clarke told a Thursday press briefing that she was trying to determine what details of the transfer would be released, saying officials would not be talking about schedules or other things that would breach security, but would simply announce when the detainees had reached Guantanamo.