Afghanistan released 65 alleged Taliban fighters from jail on Thursday despite fierce condemnation from the United States, which says the men pose a threat to Nato and Afghan forces.
“The 65 prisoners were freed and walked out of the Bagram prison compound this morning,” Abdul Shukor Dadras, a member of the Afghan government body reviewing the detainees, told AFP.
“Their cases were reviewed and we have no reason to keep them in jail.” Dadras had also said.
Ahead of the planned release, the US military said that the men were “dangerous individuals” directly linked to attacks killing or wounding 32 Nato personnel and 23 Afghans.
But President Hamid Karzai has called the prison at Bagram a “Taliban-producing factory” and alleged that some detainees had been tortured into hating their country.
The US had given names and details of three men freed, including Mohammad Wali, whom it described as a suspected Taliban explosives expert “biometrically linked” to two bombings against troops in Helmand province.
“Violent criminals who harm Afghans and threaten the peace and security of Afghanistan should face justice in the Afghan courts,” the US force had earlier said in a statement.
Moves to free the men enraged US officials and further strained US-Afghan relations as the two countries wrangle over a long-delayed security deal allowing some American soldiers to stay in the country after 2014.