News - Afghanistan
The U.S. government has condemned an ordered release of the first wave of 88 prisoners from Bagram prison, saying that more than 40 percent of the prisoners who are set to go were involved in direct attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces.
The Afghan Review Board (ARB) overseeing Bagram prisoner releases, led by Abdul Shakoor Dadras, ordered the first 37 of 88 prisoners from Bagram to be released on Monday, despite the U.S. military categorizing them as "dangerous".
"The review board, after long assessments and studies of the information and data that the NDS on recommendation of the President had submitted, decided on the future of at least 37 inmates detained in Bagram Prison," Dadras said.
But U.S. officials have said 17 of the 37 released prisoners are linked to the production of IEDs and the killing of 11 Afghan soldiers.
"This extra-judicial release of detainees is a major step backward in further developing the rule of law in Afghanistan. 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 U.S. military statement said.
Many Afghan officials have also raised concern about the Review Board's mandate, which they say is illegal given the fact it is not a part of the judiciary or law enforcement offices, but rather a political body appointed by President Hamid Karzai.
A number of Afghan MPs and civil society activists have called for the releases to be stopped and said that the cases of individuals in Bagram that lack evidence for prosecution should be forwarded on to the Afghan Police or the courts.
Nevertheless, despite claims from the Review Board that there is insufficient evidence to hold the prisoners any longer, the U.S. has provided a number of hard numbers implicating the detainees in a host of violence. What proof those numbers are based off remains to be seen.
"Of the 88 detainees under dispute, 40 percent have participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 57 Afghan citisens and security force members and 30 percent participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 60 U.S. or coalition force members," the U.S.' statement said.
The U.S. military says that they have provided "extensive information and evidence on each of the 88 detainees."
"The disputed cases contain strong evidence of violations of Afghan law or strong investigative leads requiring review by the Saranwal for prosecution or further investigation by the National Directorate of Security."
However, President Karzai's approach to issue seems very different, highlighting the growing gulf between him and his reluctant partners in Washington.
President Hamid Karzai on Saturday that the Bagram prison was a "Talib-making factory". "Bagram [prison] is a place where innocent people are tortured and insulted and made dangerous criminal," he said.
The U.S. military handed over full control of the only U.S.-run prison in Afghanistan to the Afghan government nearly one year ago, easing tensions over one of the longest-running standoffs between Kabul and Washington.
Over 500 prisoners, many of which captured under the suspicion of being Taliban or other militant group members, have been released since last August.
Karzai has been known to favor a strategy of rapprochmant with the Taliban this year, looking to build goodwill with the insurgents in order to gain ground in peace talks. Part of this strategy is said to include releasing militant detainees. Whether or not the Bagram releases are related remains unknown.
"I hope that the President's treatment of this issue wasn't politically motivated," political analyst Noor-ul-Haq Ulomo said. "Again, I repeat that on its legal aspects, its true that his delegation separated the criminals and the innocents, but they should have been handed over to the legal and judicial organs to certify and not on personal demand."
The following are names of the detainees who would be freed from Bagram:
1. Habibullah Abdul Hadi
2. Nek Mohammad (aka Gulalai)
3. Akhtar Mohammad
4. Hanif Agha
5. Ali Jan
7. Abdul Ghafar
8. Mohammad Sadiq
9. Abdul Qadir
10. Abdul Ahad
12. Abdul Haq
14. Habib Rahman
16. Abdul Rahman
18. Mohammad Wali
19. Dost Mohammad
20. Mohammad Hashim
21. Kabir Gul
22. Fahar Zaman
23. Haji Abdullah
24. Lali Hasinshah
25. Khaliq Dad
26. Akhtar Ghulam Mohammad
27. Sardar Wali
28. Ziaul Haq
31. Wali Khan
33. Mohammad Isa
34. Rahman Gul
35. Mohammad Khan
36. Abdul Kadir
37. Mohammad Asim