The Afghan government has gone through with its plans to release of 65 of the 88 prisoners the US military has identified as “dangerous individuals.” United States Forces-Afghanistan issued an unusually strongly-worded objection to the release of the 65 detainees. The full text of the USFOR-A statement is below:
United States Forces-Afghanistan has learned that 65 dangerous individuals from a group of 88 detainees under dispute have been ordered released from the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan.
The U.S. has, on several occasions, provided extensive information and evidence on each of the 88 detainees to the Afghan Review Board, the Afghan National Directorate of Security and the Attorney General’s office.
This release violates agreements between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
We have made clear our judgment that these individuals should be prosecuted under Afghan law. We requested that the cases be carefully reviewed. But the evidence against them was never seriously considered, including by the Attorney General, given the short time since the decision was made to transfer these cases to the Afghan legal system.
The release of 65 detainees is a legitimate force protection concern for the lives of both coalition troops and Afghan National Security Forces. The primary weapon of choice for these individuals is the improvised explosive device, widely recognized as the primary cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
The release of these detainees is a major step backward for the rule of law in Afghanistan. Some previously-released individuals have already returned to the fight, and this subsequent release will allow dangerous insurgents back into Afghan cities and villages.
According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the 65 cases are now closed after having been cleared by an Afghan Attorney General Office team, and investigations of the remaining 23 detainees by the AGO are currently underway.
Seven of those freed may have been involved in the green-on-blue, or insider attacks that have resulted in the deaths of Coalition personnel.
Now that the “65 dangerous individuals” have been released, the US government should publish the names of those freed and the charges against them.