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December 7, 2010 / J. Shaw

500 detained Taliban fighters released by Karzai

More than 500 suspected Taliban fighters detained by U.S. forces have been released from custody at the urging of Afghan government officials, angering both American troops and some Afghans who oppose the policy on the grounds that many of those released return to the battlefield to kill NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians.

And those numbers understate the problem, military officials say. They do not include suspected Taliban fighters held in small combat outposts or other forward operating bases throughout the region who are released before they ever become part of the official detainee population.

An Afghan official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that President Hamid Karzai’s government has personally sought the release of as many as 700 suspected Taliban fighters since July, including some mid-level leaders. “Corruption is not just based on the amount of money that is wasted but wasted lives when Taliban return only to kill more NATO forces and civilians,” said the official, who opposes what he considers corruption in the Karzai administration.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Karen Davis, a spokeswoman in Kabul, told The Washington Examiner “nearly 500 detainees held in the [detention facility in Parwan] have been released outright or transferred to the [Afghan government] for disposition under Afghan law” so far this year.

Earlier this year, The Examiner reported that numerous insurgents captured in Pakistan, including some members of al Qaeda, were returned to Afghanistan upon the request of the Karzai government, and then, according to a senior Pakistani official, “released back to the Taliban as bargaining chips in negotiations.”

A marine stationed in southern Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province told The Examiner that efforts to detain insurgent fighters are “worthless.”
Read more : http://washingtonexaminer.com/

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