US and Afghanistan clash on prisoner release

Sixty-five Afghan prisoners were released from Afghanistan’s Bagram Detention Centre Feb. 13.

The decision was made by Afghan President Hamid Karzai who says there was not enough evidence against the prisoners, reports BBC News.

The move contradicts US recommendations to keep the men imprisoned.

“The evidence linking these individuals to serious crimes warrants careful consideration by a prosecutor and, potentially, indictments and prosecutions in Afghan courts under Afghan law,” the Embassy of the United States in Kabul said in a press release Feb. 13.

“We requested a thorough review of each case.  Instead, the evidence against them was never seriously considered.”

Also in its statement the US says, “Among those released today are individuals who are responsible for, or contributed to, the deaths of Afghan security force personnel, Afghan civilians, and American and other coalition personnel.”

In response, Karzai says the US needs to respect his decision and Afghanistan’s sovereignty, reports BBC News.

In an interview with the BBC, Karzai claims the prisoners are just some of the many innocent Afghans who have been taken as prisoners, transferred to Bagram Detention Centre and never seen again.

Foreign BBC News Correspondent David Loyn says Karzai’s decision may be more political than legal.

With upcoming presidential elections, Karzai is taking an anti-American stance. The release of the prisoners, Loyn says, demonstrates Karzai’s commitment to Afghan sovereignty, and demonstrates his own power.


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