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NATO and US: Afghanistan release of 65 prisoners 'deeply regrettable'

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the NATO secretary general, and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan publicly condemned the Afghanistan government's decision to release 65 prisoners from the Parwan Detention Center.

By
JC Finley

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. government and NATO strongly condemned Afghanistan's release of 65 prisoners from the Parwan Detention Center -- formerly Bagram prison -- on Thursday.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, some of the released prisoners "are individuals who are responsible for, or contributed to, the deaths of Afghan security force personnel, Afghan civilians, and American and other personnel." Their release, the embassy said, "is deeply regrettable."

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Releasing these individuals is contrary to Afghanistan’s commitment in our 2012 Memorandum of Understanding to take all necessary steps to ensure that detainees do not pose a continuing threat to Afghanistan, the international community or the United States.

The Afghan government bears responsibility for the results of its decision. We urge it to make every effort to ensure that those released do not commit new acts of violence and terror, and to immediately bring to justice any who do so.

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was "gravely concerned by the decision ... which appears to have been made based on political calculations and without regard for due process before the Afghan courts ..." Rasmussen called on the Afghan government to "ensure that the released detainees do not pose a further threat to the people of Afghanistan and the international forces who are dedicated to building security in Afghanistan."

U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, which had repeatedly requested the Afghan Review Board and Attorney General's office to reconsider the planned release, expressed its concern about the continued threat posed by the released prisoners.

We believe some of the individuals previously released have already returned to the fight. Additional released detainees may continue to fill the ranks of the insurgency. With no legal consequences, these individuals may return to the same criminal behavior that led to their original capture.

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[U.S. Embassy Kabul] [NATO] [ISAF]

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