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Afghanistan set to release prisoners who killed U.S. troops

Feb. 12, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Detainees stand inside a cell in 2010 at the U.S.-run Parwan detention facility near Bagram north of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan government has begun the process of releasing three dozen prisoners, officials said Jan. 27, despite U.S. protests that they are highly dangerous, the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries ahead of the year-end withdrawal of most international combat troops.
Detainees stand inside a cell in 2010 at the U.S.-run Parwan detention facility near Bagram north of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan government has begun the process of releasing three dozen prisoners, officials said Jan. 27, despite U.S. protests that they are highly dangerous, the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries ahead of the year-end withdrawal of most international combat troops. (David Guttenfelder / AP)
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As early as Thursday, the Afghan government is expected to release prisoners who have killed U.S. and coalition troops, a NATO spokesman said.

Over the objections of the U.S. military, Afghan officials plan to release 65 detainees from the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan whom NATO has called “dangerous individuals.”

“Detainees from this group of 65 are directly linked to attacks wounding or killing 32 U.S. or coalition personnel and attacks wounding or killing 23 [Afghan National Security Forces] or Afghan civilians,” Army Lt. Col. William Griffin said in an email on Wednesday.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force issued a news release on Tuesday that slammed the expected prisoner release as “a major step backward for the rule of law in Afghanistan.”

Freeing the prisoners puts NATO troops and the Afghan public in danger because the prisoners have used roadside bombs, which have killed numerous Afghan civilians, according to the news release.

“This release violates agreements between the U.S. and Afghanistan,” the news release says. “We have made clear our judgment that these individuals should be prosecuted under Afghan law. We requested that the cases be carefully reviewed. But the evidence against them was never seriously considered, including by the Attorney General, given the short time since the decision was made to transfer these cases to the Afghan legal system.”

A spokesman for the Afghan attorney general’s office told Reuters that the prisoners will be released because there is “no incriminating evidence against them.”

A spokeswoman for the Afghan embassy in Washington, D.C., had no further information about the matter on Wednesday.

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