U.S.: Afghanistan has freed 37 “dangerous” prisoners

Afghan detainees wait to be released during a ceremony to hand over Bagram prison to the Afghanistan government at Bagram Prison facilities, March 25, 2012. Getty

Last Updated Jan 27, 2014 9:23 AM EST

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The U.S. military said Monday Afghanistan's government had released 37 "dangerous" prisoners who pose threats to the country and the region.

The release of the prisoners from the prison at the Bagram military base, which was previously controlled by the U.S. military, has been a sticking point in Afghan-U.S. relations as the two sides struggle over a deal allowing U.S. and allied troops to remain in the country past the end of this year.

Abdul Shakor Dadras, who heads the Bagram Prisoner's Board of Review, confirmed to CBS News' Mukhtar Ahmad on Monday that the 37 prisoners release had been ordered, but it was up to the Afghan military police to determine when actually let them out of jail.

The U.S. condemned the release of "dangerous insurgents who have Afghan blood on their hands," linking them to roadside bombings and attacks on foreign and government troops.

The statement from the military called it an "extra-judicial release of detainees” and said it represented "a major step backward in further developing the rule of law in Afghanistan."

The Afghan government has said a review of the prisoners' cases turned up no evidence of wrongdoing for 45 of 88 detainees the U.S. wanted held, and that there was insufficient evidence on the others.

According to the Pentagon, "the 37 being released include 17 who are linked to the production of or attacks using improvised explosive devices; three who participated in or had knowledge of direct attacks wounding or killing 11 ANSF members; and four who participated in or had knowledge of direct attacks wounding or killing 42 U.S. or Coalition Force members."

Speaking to CBS News, Dadras reiterated the Afghan government's stance on Monday, saying "foreign forces did not provide us any evidence" to keep the men in prison. "According to Afghan law, the 37 prisoners are innocent and they should not be kept in jail any longer," he said.

Dadras told CBS News that the review board stood "ready to revise our decision," should the U.S. offer evidence of criminality by the 37 detainees in question, even as late as Monday evening, but added, "I'm sure they dont have evidence."

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