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US Quietly Releases More Military Prisoners in Afghanistan

Non-Afghan prisoners released with little fanfare in apparent bid to tone down 'the war on terror.' But why the secrecy?
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/13/2014, 2:59 PM

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Reuters

The Obama administration has quietly returned a dozen detainees from a small US military prison in Afghanistan, defense officials stated Thursday night, in another controversial prisoner release set to tone down the US's war on terror. 

US President Barack Obama, in a letter to Congress released on Thursday, informed U.S. lawmakers that about 38 non-Afghan prisoners remained at the Parwan detention center outside of Kabul, down from around 50 a few months ago.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that a Frenchman, a Kuwaiti and ten Pakistani prisoners were sent back to their respective home countries at the end of May.

According to the official, the remaining detainees include Yemeni, Tunisian and other Pakistani nationals.

The news surfaces on the heels of the controversial return home of US soldier and longtime captive Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was traded for five top Taliban terrorists last month. 

Critics have said that, in making the trade quiet trade for Bergdahl, the administration violated the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires a 30-day warning before releasing terrorists from the compound - charges that US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel denied. 

Hagel also made a number of remarks indicating that the terrorists' release - which the Taliban called "a victory," sparking the desire to kidnap more soldiers - was necessary to save Bergdahl's life, indicating an "ends justify the means" approach.