News / Asia

Afghanistan to Release 72 Prisoners Deemed Threat by US

Captured Taliban insurgents presented to media in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jan. 7, 2014.
Captured Taliban insurgents presented to media in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jan. 7, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the release of all but 16 prisoners from a group of 88 detainees that American authorities believe are responsible for murdering scores of coalition and Afghan soldiers.
 
U.S. political and military leaders describe the prisoners as dangerous criminals responsible for killing American and Afghan troops, and are demanding that Karzai allow Afghan courts to determine their fate.
 
Karzai's decision is expected to further strain U.S.-Afghan relations as pressure mounts over the delayed signing of a security deal that outlines the U.S. military presence in the country after 2014.
 
A statement from Karzai's office says a panel reviewed cases against all 88 prisoners considered serious threats. The panel decided 45 of the detainees were innocent, and that evidence against another 27 was insufficient for trial, and ultimately recommended legal proceedings against only the 16 remaining inmates.
 
There is no word when the prisoners will be allowed to leave the Bagram detention center north of Kabul.
 
Karzai's announcement came hours after the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, spoke to reporters in Kabul to reiterate Washington’s concerns on the issue.
 
“These 88 individuals all have some evidence that either would require them to be prosecuted in an Afghan justice system or require further investigation," Dunford said. "That is exactly in accordance with the memorandum of understanding that was signed between the two countries last spring.”
 
Dunford refused to speculate on the possible U.S. reaction if the prisoners are set free, allowing only that he would be "concerned with the security of the Afghan people," afghan troops and coalition forces.
 
Relations between Kabul and Washington are already strained over Karzai’s refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement that would allow a small contingent of U.S. forces to remain in Afghanistan after most foreign troops leave the country by the end of 2014.
 
According to Dunford, signing the security pact is necessary to allow coalition forces to continue training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces with the aim of preserving security gains Afghanistan has made over the past 12 years.
 
The Obama administration has been pressing the Afghan leadership to conclude the security pact promptly to prevent a total pull-out of U.S. soldiers by next year.
 
Karzai has been demanding the United States end raids against Afghan homes during counterterrorism actions and help Kabul to open peace talks with the Taliban before he signs the security agreement. He has insisted that he will leave the problem to his successor after upcoming April elections if his demands are not met.
 
A group of influential U.S. senators, visiting Kabul last week, urged President Karzai to sign the security deal without delay, to ensure future American funding and training of Afghan forces.
 
The senators also warned that freeing any of the 88 prisoners without putting them on trial in Afghan courts would have a devastating effect on bilateral relations.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid