February 13

Afghanistan frees 65 prisoners U.S. deems ‘dangerous’

The U.S. military says some of those set free were directly linked to attacks that have killed or wounded 32 U.S. or coalition personnel and 23 Afghan security personnel or civilians.

By Amir Shah
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

This September 2010 photo shows a U.S. military guard walking a corridor between cells at the Parwan detention facility near Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Associated Press

Some Afghans near the Parwan prison expressed unease over the release.

“I think they will return back to their people, to the Taliban,” said Ahmad Shayeq, whose home is near the facility.

The detainees’ release has been in the works for weeks, and comes as Karzai has taken an increasingly hostile tone toward the U.S.

The president has refused to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement that would allow a few thousand U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan past 2014, largely to help train Afghanistan security forces to take over the fight against the Taliban 13 years after the military intervention in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the U.S. The NATO-backed coalition toppled the Taliban regime of hard-line Islamic law for sheltering the al-Qaida leadership behind the U.S. attacks.

Karzai had tentatively endorsed the bilateral security deal, but after it was approved in November by a council of tribal elders known as the Loya Jirga, he refused to sign it — saying he wants his successor to decide about it after the April 5 presidential election. Karzai cannot run because he is ineligible to serve a third term.

The U.S. wants the deal signed as soon as possible because it needs time to prepare to keep thousands of U.S. troops in the country for up to a decade.

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