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| Ander Nieuws week 14 / Midden-Oosten 2010 |
 
 
 
Pakistan alleges Afghans are releasing Taliban fighters

 
Washington Examiner
March 31, 2010
Sara A. Carter - National Security Correspondent
 
Afghanistan has been releasing Taliban fighters captured in Pakistan and turned over to the Karzai government, creating a growing rift between the neighbors as they struggle to defeat insurgents, three senior Pakistani officials said.
 
The releases have made Pakistan reluctant to turn over some top Taliban captives, the officials said. The Afghanistan Embassy declined to comment on the allegation.
 
The Washington Examiner reviewed classified Pakistani military case summaries on roughly 1,100 captured or killed Taliban insurgents and suspected al Qaeda fighters.
 
The reports detailed the return to Afghanistan upon the request of the Karzai government of dozens of insurgents. However, upon their return, the classified documents noted that they were "released back to the Taliban as bargaining chips in negotiations."
 
A typical report detailed the case of a suspected Taliban named Maulvi Saeed. He was "a member [of] Taliban Shura in Kunar, planner of suicide bombings," the classified report said.
 
"Arrested on February 22, 2007, from Peshawar. Handed over to [National Directorate of Security] on 24, December, 2007. He was released by Afghan security officials without notifying Pakistan," a note attached to Saeed's report stated.
 
"They don't keep us on board and continually release dangerous and sometime high-level Taliban that we have captured," said a senior Pakistani official, who spoke on condition that he not be named.
 
"We handed them over to the Afghan government," the official said. "Then the Afghan government releases them to negotiate their own release of those the Taliban has captured or some other possible position that suits them."
 
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Wright said the United States is aware of the release of some detainees in Afghanistan but that U.S. and NATO partners "carefully monitor the situation."
 
One U.S. official with knowledge of detainee releases said American forces in the region "won't turn a blind eye after the detainees are let go."
 
The U.S. official said some suspected insurgents captured by American troops have also been released by the Afghan government, but he wouldn't second-guess the motives of the Afghans. "What can we do when there is no evidence or if the Afghan government makes the decision to release them once they're turned over? Our hands are tied," he said.
 
The military official said, "Normally there are people watching, and we have various means of trying to maintain tabs on the detainees who warrant further attention."
 
"Many of those released by Karzai's government immediately go back to fighting with the Taliban and al Qaeda," one high-ranking Pakistani official said.
 
In early March, Afghan President Hamid Karzai spent two days in Pakistan, where he made a formal request for Pakistan to hand over the Taliban's No. 2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to be tried in Afghanistan.
 
Karzai has also expressed his anger over the arrest of Baradar, saying the detention had complicated efforts to reach an accord with some Taliban factions.
 
A Pakistan counterterrorism official told the Washington Examiner that Pakistan would turn Baradar over to Afghanistan, after "we are done with the interrogation." But he said that his country is "apprehensive that he will be set free."
 
The Washington Newspaper Publishing Company LLC
 
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| Ander Nieuws week 14 / Midden-Oosten 2010 |