The Afghan government has released 65 detainees that the U.S. military believes are dangerous insurgents who were directly involved in attacks on American and allied troops.
The sixty-five detainees were released from Afghanistan’s high-security Bagram detention centre on Thursday morning and were taken away in vehicles belonging to the Afghan National Army’s military police. The police vehicles then took the prisoners to a small bazaar on a main road, where they were transferred to taxis – presumably on route to some kind of Taliban training camp…
The prisoners’ newfound freedom comes after months of failed negotiations by U.S. officials to stop their release. The U.S. pleaded with Afghan President Hamid Karzai not to go through with it, arguing that those freed are likely to rejoin Taliban ranks.
The American military expressed “strong concern about the potential threats these detainees pose to coalition forces and Afghan security forces and civilians”.
“We believe some of the individuals previously released have already returned to the fight,” an American statement said. “Additional released detainees may continue to fill the ranks of the insurgency.”
But Karzai, a strong proponent of biting the hand that feeds you, said the releases were of “no concern to the U.S.” and insists there is not enough evidence against the detainees. Despite having referred to the prison as a “Taliban-making factory”, Karzai asserted that “Afghanistan is a sovereign country” and “the Afghan government bears responsibility for the results of its decision.”
Now America can only hope that the released detainees will wind up at the training camps where instructors use live explosives to demonstrate how to be a suicide bomber. Or that they were innocent in the first place and will just return to their civilian lives.
Meanwhile President Karzai continues to refuse to sign a security deal with Washington that would allow roughly 10,000 U.S. troops remain in the country past 2014. If he doesn’t sign the deal, the US-led international military force in Afghanistan will be forced to pull out their troops and hand over all security duties to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Fine, but can we at least have that dog back?