Afghanistan set to release 88 prisoners connected with US deaths
The Afghan government announced that it will release 88 prisoners who are currently being held at Parwan prison at Bagram Air Base, near Kabul. U.S. officials strongly condemned the decision, stating the prisoners are Taliban fighters who are responsible for the deaths of at least 60 Americans and over 50 civilians. The prisoners have been connected with multiple crimes including bombing a school, suicide attacks, possession of military-grade weaponry, financing attacks, and more.
Afghan prison officials deny the allegation that the prisoners had any involvement in terrorist activity and said there is inadequate evidence to continue to hold them. The Taliban has declared the prisoners as innocent civilians.
U.S. officials have raised concerns that upon release, the prisoners will rejoin the opposition to U.S. and Afghan forces and continue fighting. The 88 prisoners were detained by U.S. or NATO led forces with the intent of being brought to justice. The U.S. has strongly suggested that the prisoners face trial in Afghanistan.
The prisoner release announcement comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan due to disputes over the Afghan security agreement that has yet to be signed. The security agreement would allow a limited number of troops to remain in Afghanistan after the end of 2014 deadline.
This is significant breach of trust for the U.S. military that has sacrificed so much over the past twelve years of the Afghan war. It is an absolute disgrace that the Afghan prison review board has such a lack of regard for the loss of U.S. and Afghan soldiers that it would rather release these prisoners than take them to trial. Afghan President Hamid Karzai must get involved and delay the release of the prisoners in order to show his support and understanding for U.S. concerns and warnings.