Afghans released from jail in peace push
AFGHANISTAN: With tears streaming down their faces, scores of
suspected Afghan militants embraced waiting relatives and walked to
freedom -- just one sign of increasing attempts at reconciliation after
11 years of war.
About 80 men, all wearing white skull caps, were released from jail
on Friday at a ceremony inside Pul-e-Charkhi, Afghanistan’s largest
prison located on dusty flatlands east of the capital Kabul.
Most had been detained by US-led foreign troops hunting down Taliban
militants and were held at Bagram airfield, where the international
force (ISAF) is based, before being transferred into Afghan custody.
President Hamid Karzai, who will hold talks with President Barack
Obama in Washington this week, has insisted all prisoners are handed
over as Afghanistan takes over security ahead of the pull-out of foreign
troops in 2014.
But US officials have often expressed fears that some detainees are
released only to return immediately to the battlefield.
“It has been 20 months I spent in jail,” one prisoner in his 30s told
reporters, declining to give his name. “I was taken in (the southern
city of) Kandahar. I don’t know why I was arrested but I was taken by
foreign troops.” He said he had been treated well, but another man said
he had been arrested in the northern province of Sari Pol and then
abused by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of