NDS Sends 55 Dossiers to Bagram Review Committee
Kabul- The National Directorate of Security (NDS) on Tuesday sent files on 55 inmates of Bagram prison that have been labeled “dangerous” yet shortlisted for release due to lack of evidence by the Review Committee for Bagram Prisoners Cases. Reportedly, 23 more reports will be sent soon as well.
An Afghan government officials, on in condition of anonymity, told TOLOnews that the Review Committee, originally appointed by President Hamid Karzai, has overseen the release of nearly 600 inmates from Bagram without consulting the NDS or other security organs.
The Bagram prisoner releases made headlines in recent weeks after controversy erupted surrounding the possible release of 88 prisoners that the U.S. has said would be too dangerous to let go free due to their involvement in terrorist activities. Despite such pushback being echoed in the Afghan Parliament, the Karzai administration has signaled the releases will go ahead as planned.
The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the Committee would be unable to move forward with releasing more inmates without consulting the NDS first. The decision to send the dossiers over to the Committee was said to have been made in an attempt to avoid the release of dangerous inmates.
According to the official, a former financial officer of the Haqqani Network is among the 88 being considered for release.
The NATO coalition handed over control of Bagram over a year ago. Coalition officials have kept a close eye on the releases this year, however, and similar documents suggested to be sufficient evidence of the inmates’ crimes needed to keep them detained were previously sent to the Review Committee.
Nevertheless, committee member Abdul ShakoorDadras reported that reliable evidence remained elusive.
Despite the rhetoric being different in the case of the Bagram releases, the Presidential Palace has pushed an aggressive yet controversial strategy recently involving the releases of militant leaders from prison in hopes of building goodwill with the Taliban. The thought being, the insurgents would be more willing and flexible in coming to the negotiating table for peace talks if leaders are freed and encouraged to meet for discussions.
This tactic has come under fire from U.S. officials, who have shown apprehensions about the possibility of detainees returning to the fight to kill Afghan and NATO coalition troops in Afghanistan. There have been a number of well-documented cases of that happening.
Afghans too, however, have reacted strongly to news of the releases. A number of Presidential candidates running for the April vote have weighed in on the issue.
“Dealings with inmates or those arrested during fighting should be handled via the courts, not a particular committee,” Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah said. “How can a committee prove the guilt or innocence of an inmate?”
U.S. officials have said that Kabul-Washington tensions could increase, heading into a critical year in which the NATO combat mission comes to an end and the future of bilateral ties will be forged, if the committee releases the inmates that have been labeled dangerous. (ToloNews)