Afghanistan announced it would release 72 of 88 prisoners, who are accused of being Taliban members by the U.S. The announcement came Thursday, despite NATO and U.S. objections.
The release was ordered following a judicial commission, conducted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and discussed the lack of evidence officials had in detaining the 'Bagram prisoners,' AFP reports.
"All Taliban prisoners from Ghazni who have been released from Bagram by the government have taken up arms again," Abdul Wali Khanzada, a provincial council member from the area near the Bagram jail, told the Wall Street Journal.
Afghanistan claims there is not enough proof to support accusations that the prisoners were responsible for wounding or killing U.S. and NATO troops.
Although the Afghan spy agency says it has provided hard evidence that supports U.S. allegations, Karzai's chief of staff Karim Khuram has a reputation of being anti-American and is presumed to have encouraged the release, the BBC reports.
"We cannot allow innocent Afghan citizens to be kept in detention for months and years without a trial for no reason at all," Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Karzai, told the Reuters news agency. "We know that unfortunately this has been happening at Bagram, but it is illegal and a violation of Afghan sovereignty and we cannot allow this anymore."
U.S. Senators who visited the Afghanistan last week said the release of the prisoners would "do irreparable damage to the relationship" between the U.S. and Afghanistan, APP reported.
Relations between the two nations have been rocky ever since Karzai's refusal to sign a security deal that would allow 10,000 American soldiers to stay in Afghanistan even after the scheduled U.S. troop pull-out at the end of 2014. This security deal was a requirement for the billion dollars of aid scheduled to be delivered to Afghanistan.
However some believe this is a tactical move by the Afghan government to initiate peace talks with the Taliban, AFP reports.