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Afghanistan frees militants despite protests from the US

Published: 2/14/14 @ 12:00


Associated Press

KABUL

Disregarding heated American protests, Afghanistan released 65 accused militants from a former U.S. prison Thursday, despite warnings that the men are dangerous Taliban fighters and bomb-makers likely to return to killing foreign forces and Afghans.

The freeing of the men from the Parwan Detention Center further strains relations between Washington and President Hamid Karzai. The Afghan leader’s increasingly anti-American rhetoric and refusal to sign a long-negotiated bilateral security deal has heightened uncertainty ahead of the year-end withdrawal of most international forces.

Outrage over Karzai’s decision also mirrors the mistrust and resentment that has developed between the ostensible allies in recent years. The souring of sentiment has often played out in a tug-of-war over control of the detention facility near the American military’s Bagram Air Field, about 28 miles north of Kabul.

Karzai reacted sharply to the strong U.S. and NATO criticism over the releases, saying it was not up to foreign powers to determine Afghan justice.