Afghanistan says it will release 88 prisoners despite US concern

Afghanistan says it will release 88 prisoners despite US concern

KABUL: The Afghan authorities said on Monday that they will release 88 prisoners from a jail in the northeastern province of Parwan as planned despite US concern.

The prisoners are held in Bagram prison which went into the control of the Afghan authorities from the US in March last year after an agreement reached between the two sides which included assurances that inmates who pose a danger to Afghans and international forces would continue to be detained under Afghan law.

In a statement on Monday, the head of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Abdul Shakoor Dadras said that if there is no incriminating evidence against the prisoners, they will be released as soon as possible.

Dadras said that current evidence did not warrant keeping the prisoners any longer. He further said that the documents we have seen so far provide no reason to convict them.

On Wednesday, the United States called on the Afghan government to halt the release of 88 prisoners from Bagram prison because they pose a serious threat to security.

“We are concerned that 88 people who have blood on their hands—Afghan and coalition blood—would be turned loose, but more important, that an agreement that we have with the Afghan government is being violated,” a US official said.

The relations between the US and the Afghan government have grown particularly strained over President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the bilateral security agreement that would keep around 8,000 US troops in the war-torn country after 2014, when most foreign forces are due to leave.

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