No Delay in Bagram Prisoner Releases: Officials
Kabul- After concerns regarding the release of Bagram prisoners were voiced earlier this week, rumors circulated that the releases had been delayed. However, officials involved in the decision making process have said the release of 88 Bagram prisoners is in fact moving forward as planned.
Abdul Shukoor Dadras, a member of the Review Committee for Bagram Prisoner Cases, reported on Saturday that there had been no official decision to halt the release process, and assured that only those prisoners whose cases lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute would be freed.”So far, we don’t have any official letter from the President to delay, cancel, or postpone the release of Bagram prisoners or to delay the process itself,” Dadras said.
This is after Dadras told BBC yesterday that the releases had been delayed by President Hamid Karzai.”The President of Afghanistan has directed us to delay the release for a specific time, and evidence from any investigative organizations must be submitted to this committee,” Dadras told BBC on Friday.
The announcement of the 88 prisoners being released was met with condemnation from both Afghan MPs and U.S. officials, who labeled the prisoners “dangerous” and said they would pose a threat to Afghanistan’s security if freed.
Washington has expressed major concern with Karzai’s recent push to release militant detainees in hopes of building goodwill with the Taliban ahead of potential peace talks. U.S. officials have explicitly said the release of the 88 prisoners expected this month could seriously damage relations between Washington and Kabul.
Since August, over 500 prisoners have been released from Bagram, with a total of 650 having been cleared by the Karzai appointed Review Committee for release already.Whether or not the U.S. will intervene in the releases remains to be seen. The NATO combat mission is not set to end until December of this year.”The U.S. has said it is concerned some of these prisoners are too dangerous for the government of Afghanistan to release, and it would take action against them,” security analyst Rahmatullah Bezhanpoor told TOLOnews.
“This statement means that if prisons are still not completely handed over to the government of Afghanistan, they might open a prison somewhere else…America has the right to act against some of these individuals who are involved with terrorism and al-Qaeda.”
U.S. politicians have argued that the release of the prisoners would be a violation of the terms of agreement set between Kabul and Washington regarding the transition of prisons like Bagram from coalition to Afghan management. Nevertheless, given Dadras comments, it would seem Kabul plans to go ahead with the releases.