High Value Prisoners Releases Worry Afghan Nominees

KABUL: (MEP) – A number of Vice Presidential candidates on Tuesday accused the government of Afghanistan of fueling security threats to the upcoming Presidential and Provincial Council elections by releasing high valued militants imprisoned at Bagram prison.

The prisoners would be freed from Bagram on the basis of the decision of a commission assigned for this purpose by President Hamid Karzai rather than by the courts. Karzai and his supporters inside the government have pushed a policy of ingratiation with the Taliban recently, attempting to build goodwill with the insurgents by releasing top leaders with an eye toward peace talks.

However, many officials and experts in Afghanistan and the U.S. have expressed concerns about the strategy of releasing prisoners liberally. There have been a number of cases of released detainees returning to the battlefield to fight coalition and Afghan forces again.

Reportedly, amongst the detainees, there are some inmates involved in the leadership of the Taliban and ones directly involved in civilian killings. The Afghan government is said to have evidence against them, yet continues to move forward with the release process.

“When the control of Bagram prison transferred from the foreign troops to the Afghan security forces, it was hoped that the criminals and accused individuals would remain there in the prison, but the government, by violating the laws and by ignoring the principles of law, has released dozens of these detainees without considering the authorities of the judicial organ, and there are many reservations about this,” said Kazimia Mohaqiq, the Second Vice Presidential candidate of Daoud Sultanzoi.

“These individuals have been involved in roadside bombings and insecurity, so it’s very regrettable that this is happening at a time we need security,” Mohaqiq added.

Security surrounding the upcoming elections has been a top priority for Afghan officials this year. And still, despite all the steps that have been taken, many are worried that insecurity in enough parts of the country could lead to the elections being delayed, or derailed.

“The legal procedures should be considered in this respect,” AIHRC Media Commission Chief Rafiullah Bidar said regarding the Bagram prisoner releases. “We are against the mass release of inmates, and the legal and judicial process should be managed against them and an authorized court should be in charge to handle the issue.”

Meanwhile, a number of Kabul residents also expressed anxiety over the release of dangerous prisoners from Bagram jail.

“The released prisoners are members of the Taliban, they reintegrate with the Taliban and create issues for us,” one Kabul resident told TOLOnews.

Among the inmates expected to be released soon is a Taliban commander named Saifullah, accused of killing a police officer and blowing up a school in Paktia province that killed a student and wounded another.

Another is thought to be the mastermind behind a number of suicide attacks and an associate of the Haqqani Network, who has already confessed to his crimes.

Salam Khan is also expected to be released, after being detained for planting a bomb in southern Kandahar province that killed two police officers.

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