Karzai Defies US, Frees Dozens of Detainees

Move could scuttle long-term security deal
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2014 6:53 PM CST
Karzai Defies US, Frees Dozens of Detainees
Afghan President Hamid Karzai.   (AP Photo/Findlay Kember, Pool)

Relations between the US and Afghanistan are expected to go from bad to worse thanks to Hamid Karzai's latest move. Defying American wishes, he ordered the release of 72 detainees today considered dangerous by US and coalition forces, reports the Wall Street Journal. The detainees are "accused of having American blood on their hands," reports the New York Times, though Afghan officials say there's not enough evidence to hold them any longer.

"We cannot allow innocent Afghan citizens to be kept in detention for months and years without a trial for no reason at all," a Karzai spokesman tells Reuters. "It is illegal and a violation of Afghan sovereignty, and we cannot allow this anymore." A State Department spokesperson countered that the detainees have clear ties to terror groups. All the stories suggest that the move by Karzai jeopardizes the already fragile talks between the two nations on a long-term security deal. (More Hamid Karzai stories.)

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