Up to 20 high-level insurgent prisoners have been released from NATO custody in Afghanistan over the past two years in an effort to boost peace negotiations with the Taliban in various regions of the country, according to U.S. officials.
The insurgents, held at the jointly-run NATO-Afghan detention facility of Parwan, are considered "bad guys," said one U.S. official who did not want to be identified discussing a sensitive issue. Their release was undertaken, the official said, often at the request of the Afghan government. In all cases, they were assessed as unlikely to rejoin the insurgency.
The official added that the Taliban detainees had been in the maximum security Parwan detention center â€śfor a reasonâ€ť â€“ but that NATO "does not release anyone when there is a high likelihood they will rejoin the insurgency." The official said he was aware of only two releases in the last nine months.
Some previously released Afghan detainees, especially from the U.S.-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have allegedly rejoined the insurgency, suggesting such programs are not without risk.
The U.S. official said the releases occur â€śwhen officials determine that the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.â€ťREAD FULL SECURITY CLEARANCE POST