U.S. denounces Afghanistan’s order to free 37 Taliban-tied inmates

The United States issued a harsh criticism Monday against the Afghan government over the planned release of 37 inmates from Bagram prison who have been deemed “dangerous individuals” with ties to Taliban terrorism by American military authorities.

The inmates are included in a group of 88 who were held by American forces but were turned over to Afghanistan in a 2013 prison transfer deal. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai announced earlier this month that 72 of the 88 were going to be released because there was not enough evidence to show they were tied to any crime.

The United States disputed that characterization, calling all 88 “dangerous individuals” and that their release would be tantamount to a “major step backwards” in Afghan-U.S. relations, BBC reported.

The United States also said there was “strong evidence” tying 72 of them to “terror-related crimes” and to the Taliban, BBC said.

But the Afghan government is going ahead with the release of 37 of them this week.

The United States Force-Afghanistan sent out this statement on Monday, the English version of Xinhau reported: “United States Forces-Afghanistan has learned that under direction of the Afghan government, the Afghan Review Board (ARB), led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, has ordered the release of the first 37 of 88 dangerous individuals under dispute who are legitimate threats to security and for whom there is strong evidence or investigative leads supporting prosecution or further investigation. The ARB is releasing these individuals without referral to an investigative body or the Afghan justice system despite the fact that the U.S. has disputed these 88 cases.”

The statement also said: “Of the 88 detainees under dispute, 40 percent have participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 57 Afghan citizens and security force members, and 30 percent participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 60 U.S. or coalition force members.”

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