US Warns Afghanistan against Releasing 72 ‘Dangerous Criminals’
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - In the latest blow to strained US-Afghan relations, President Hamid Karzai announced he plans to free dozens of prisoners that the US says have committed crimes against Americans and are considered a security threat.
The US is against releasing the inmates as officials claim they have been involved in injuring or killing forces from the US and other coalition nations.
Yet Karzai said that only 16 of the 88 prisoners in question will be kept in custody and tried because there is not sufficient evidence against the rest of the accused, RT reported.
Karzai’s announcement has been portrayed as yet another step backward for diplomacy between the two nations.
He has resisted pressure from US President Obama and other officials to sign a security agreement that would determine the nature of US military presence in country past 2014.
“These 72 detainees are dangerous criminals against whom there is strong evidence linking them to terror-related crimes, including the use of improvised explosive devices, the largest killer of Afghan civilians,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a news briefing Thursday.
The prisoner release is expected to come within days, and US officials have complained that turning over evidence against the inmates who will eventually be freed has done little to convince Karzai to change his ways.
When asked about whether releasing the inmates lowers the chance that a security deal will ultimately be signed Psaki would only say that “time will tell.”
Amil Faizi, Karzai’s spokesman, said there is no evidence against 45 of the 88 prisoners and the evidence against another 27 is too little to be enough to warrant a trial. He also compared the detention to the situation at Bagram Air Force base, where US forces have kept dozens of Afghans without charges for years.