26 Taliban inmates released after Afghan jirga deal

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 22, 2010 05:40 hrs

Afghan and U.S. officials have said that 26 Taliban inmates have been released from Afghan jails as part of an amnesty deal offered by Hamid Karzai's government.

According to the Afghan Deputy Attorney General, 12 prisoners were released from US detention in Bagram, while two suicide bombers were released from Afghan custody.

The decision to review the cases came after a jirga of Afghan tribal leaders earlier this month approved a plan by Afghan President Karzai to seek a peace deal with moderate elements of the Taliban, The Daily Times reports.

After the deal, Karzai had ordered a review of the cases of every Taliban suspect in the country's prisons.

He had said that where evidence against suspects was doubtful, they must be released.

The strategy is meant to foster a sense of goodwill and building trust, as the government seeks to engage the Taliban leadership in political negotiations to end the nine-year war.

The jirga had also called for the removal of names of militant leaders from United Nations blacklists, and peace talks with those who renounce violence.

Karzai's order to review prisoners' cases, based on the jirga's proposals, only referred to the roughly 15,000 detainees in Afghan jails.

However, the US military has said the review would also apply to US military prisons.

Earlier, last week, the deputy commander for US detention operations in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Mark Martins, had said that 25 prisoners at the US Bagram prison would be released soon. (ANI)

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