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Taliban buying prisoner release

June 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 5 (UPI) -- Taliban figures held in some cases for allegedly attacking international forces were freed after paying off Afghan officials, leaders said.

U.S. military officials were quoted by The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London as saying dozens of Taliban members may have been released from jail after bribing local officials in eastern Ghazni province.

"We are talking about people who may have American blood on their hands," one officer told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

A former Afghan intelligence official from Ghazni confirmed to the British newspaper that Taliban corruption has been ongoing.

The newspaper alleges that at least two of the 20 Taliban prisoners taken into custody during the past few months were released and never faced trial. U.S. officials said about $6,500 may have helped finance the prisoner's release.

Former provincial intelligence chief Mohammad Aref Shah Jahan told the newspaper authorities were using a formal reintegration process as cover for the Taliban release.

"They are releasing the real Taliban and keeping people who are nothing," he was quoted as saying.

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