Karzai Defies U.S., Releases Prisoners

It’s the latest sign of an increasingly troubled U.S.-Afghanistan relationship.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - OCTOBER 25: Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks as he welcomes his counterpart from Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon during a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace on October 25, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon is in Kabul for two days of talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai focused on the deteriorating security situation in the region. 
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Jordain Carney
Jan. 6, 2014, 8:20 a.m.

The Afgh­anistan gov­ern­ment will over­ride U.S. gov­ern­ment ob­jec­tions and re­lease 88 pris­on­ers from a jail near Ka­bul, a re­view board of­fi­cial said Sunday.

The United States form­ally gave con­trol of the pris­on to Afgh­anistan in Septem­ber, in an at­tempt to ease what had be­come a source of con­flict between the two coun­tries.

Ab­dul Shakor Dadras, the head of the re­view board, told Re­u­ters that so far there isn’t enough evid­ence against the pris­on­ers to con­tin­ue hold­ing them. His com­ments come after Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai re­ques­ted for of­fi­cials to give fur­ther evid­ence against the pris­on­ers, who U.S. of­fi­cials have ac­cused of killing for­eign troops.

“Our de­cision is to re­lease them as soon as pos­sible if there is no in­crim­in­at­ing evid­ence against them,” Dadras said, not­ing that so far there isn’t enough evid­ence to sup­port a con­vic­tion.

The de­cision to re­lease the pris­on­ers marks the latest strain on the U.S.-Afghan re­la­tion­ship, which has seen an up­tick in ten­sions be­cause Kar­zai re­fused to sign a bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity pact by the end of 2013.


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