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Potential Terrorists Must Remain Behind Bars


Amidst controversies over release of Taliban prisoners, US military published documents illustrating backgrounds of dozens of Taliban prisoners who are deemed as dangerous by US officials. According to the records of the Taliban prisoners, some of them had been directly involved in terrorist attacks against NATO and Afghan forces while some others have been proved guilty during investigations by US military investigators. The prisoners’ records are published at a time when the United States and the Afghan government are in loggerheads over the release of the prisoners after further exacerbation of relations in recent months.

The government of Afghanistan has remained steadfast in its insistence to release the prisoners despite persistence of the United States considering the militant prisoners as potential security threat against Afghan and foreign forces. Afghan officials have said that the government will keep a number of the prisoners who are viewed as potentially dangerous behind the bars and the rest of them be released soon. The government says that the prisoners will be released based on the decision of a special judicial meeting of the government, not by the commission assigned for reviewing the cases of the prisoners.

There are widespread objections to the government’s policy in releasing the Taliban prisoners. Recently a group of civil activists called on the government to implement justice and protect the victims of terrorist attacks. The activists echoed calls from civil society on the Afghan officials to provide justice for victims of war crimes and terrorist attacks. Afghan president Hamid Karzai has long been wooing the insurgent groups through releasing prisoners, and more recently, perhaps by refusing to sign the bilateral security agreement with the United States despite its approval by the Loya Jirga. Such approach by the Afghan president has sparked concerns whether the Afghan government is committed to application of a policy that would boost security and help implement justice in the country.

The latest release of 72 prisoners will come after a renewed wave of violence that once gripped Afghanistan and brought grieves among the families. In recent weeks, the militant groups have staged a storm of violence which has been deadly particularly for the innocent civilians. While the Taliban are continuing the arbitrarily commit human rights violation by random killing of civilians, the arbitrary prisoners release will not help bringing peace and neither it helps implementing justice. It only furthers the cycle of violence and revenge by those who are directly being affected by wars and violence.

Most likely, the release of potentially dangerous prisoners will further deteriorate security as it is highly likely that the prisoners will join the militant groups in the battlefield against Afghan and foreign forces. On the other hand, such moves by the Afghan government will discourage the international community and their citizens who have been in the forefront of the war against terrorism and insurgency alongside Afghans during past twelve years. This would mean further disengagement of the international community from the Afghan mission at a time when Afghanistan critically needs support and cooperation of its international allies to overcome the Taliban insurgency.

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