Militants’ release to harm ties: US senators
KABUL (PAN): The release of Taliban insurgents will further strain rocky US-Afghan relations, American lawmakers warned on Thursday, as the two countries continue to differ on signing a security deal.
After a meeting with President Hamid Karzai at his office, US senators opposed at a news conference Kabul’s plan to set free 88 suspected militants from the Bagram jail in central Parwan province.
Several dangerous individuals posing legitimate threats were among hundreds of prisoners freed from the detention facility, a US military official said, two after a review board investigating prisoner cases announced the release of 650 inmates.
The 88 detainees are said to be involved in direct attacks wounding or killing 57 Afghan citizens and security members and 30 percent of them participated in assaults wounding or killing 60 coalition soldiers.
Speaking at the US embassy here, Senator Lindsey Graham alleged the detainees were behind deadly attacks. "Their release, if it goes forward, will have an unbelievably negative impact on bilateral relations.”
Flanked by Senator John McCain and John Barrasso, Graham insisted that the prisoners’ release plan would irreparably damage the Kabul-Washington ties.
For his part, McCain -- the ex-presidential runner -- said about the board’s proposal: “We will have to see exactly what transpires before reaching a conclusion as to what actions could be taken."
The Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), providing for a continued US military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, would be concluded soon, the influential Republican lawmaker hoped.
The Arizona senator said: "I’m confident from our conversation (with Karzai) that differences have been narrowed and we could get things resolved in a very short time.”
He said they did not want to see in Afghanistan a repeat of what had happened in Iraq, where the US won the war, but lost the peace due to a complete pullout of forces from the Gulf country.
The statement said Karzai once again stressed Afghanistan’s conditions should be met for signing the deal. The president said the people of Afghanistan wanted the agreement to guarantee peace and stability in their country.
He added the Afghans desired peace and did not want a return to chaos and instability. The peace process had been launched for the sake of a united Afghanistan.
In reference to raids on civilian homes, Karzai stressed more work should be done in this regard to achieve lasting peace in the country.
On the Bagram jail, the president said those found innocent in line with the country’s laws had been released and the guilty were being prosecuted.
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