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Prison releases trigger new United States-Afghan dispute

Published on Jan 2, 2014 1:10 AM

KABUL (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday criticised the planned release of 88 suspected militants from an Afghan jail, branding the men as "dangerous individuals" who could threaten security as NATO forces withdraw from the country.

Disagreement over the fate of the prisoners is the latest point of friction between US and Afghan authorities who are stuck in a bitter stalemate over a security accord that would allow some US troops to stay after 2014.

Bagram jail was finally handed over to Afghan control by the US in March after a public stand-off with President Hamid Karzai, who has presented the jail as a symbol of Afghanistan's efforts to regain its national sovereignty.

Many of those still held in Bagram are suspected high-level Taleban and Al-Qaeda fighters, and the US has long been concerned Afghanistan's weak and corruption-prone security forces could allow them to return to the battlefield.

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