News / Asia

US Condemns Release of Afghan Detainees

FILE - An Afghan prisoner waits in line for his release from Parwan Detention Facility after the U.S. military gave control of its last detention facility to Afghan authorities in Bagram, outside Kabul, Afghanistan, March 2013.
FILE - An Afghan prisoner waits in line for his release from Parwan Detention Facility after the U.S. military gave control of its last detention facility to Afghan authorities in Bagram, outside Kabul, Afghanistan, March 2013.
VOA News
U.S. military headquarters in Afghanistan has condemned a decision to release 37 detainees it calls "legitimate threats to security."

A statement Monday from United States Forces-Afghanistan calls the release a "major step backward" for developing rule of law in Afghanistan.

The detainees are part of a group of 88 being held at a prison on the U.S.-run Bagram air field.  

Talking to VOA's Afghan Service, Abdul Shakoor Daadras, a member of the Afghan panel that reviews the cases of detainees at Bagram, said these prisoners have been detained for too long without legal recourse.

"I am not a judge nor a prosecutor," said Daadras. "But I can say that the cases of these prisoners have not reached the level where a judge could hear them. We are assigned to assess them before they get to that level."

President Hamid Karzai ordered a review of their cases, and earlier this month his office said all but 16 would be released because there was not enough evidence to put the majority on trial. On Saturday, he called the Bagram facility a "Taliban-producing factory" where Afghans are tortured into hating their country.

The U.S. military statement says there is strong evidence for prosecution or further investigation of the 37 detainees being released.  

It says 17 of them are linked to improvised explosive attacks, three were involved in wounding or killing Afghan soldiers, and four are connected to attacks against coalition troops.

U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said, "These are individuals with blood on their hands, both U.S., coalition and Afghan blood on their hands."  

The commander of international troops in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, said earlier this month that the detainee release would raise concerns for the safety of his troops and the Afghan people.

A group of U.S. senators who visited Afghanistan this month said releasing the detainees without trial would have a devastating impact on relations between the two countries.

Those ties are already strained by negotiations over a security pact that would allow some U.S. forces to remain in Afghanistan past the planned withdrawal of international forces by the end of this year.

An assembly of Afghan elders and politicians endorsed the agreement late last year, but Karzai has refused to sign it, saying he wants the U.S. to end raids against Afghan homes and help begin peace talks with the Taliban.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid