KABUL: Afghanistan released 65 alleged Taliban fighters from jail on Thursday despite condemnation from the United States, which says the men could return to the battlefield to launch strikes against NATO and Afghan forces.
The release of detainees from Bagram prison is set to worsen the increasingly-bitter relationship between Kabul and Washington as US-led troops prepare to withdraw after 13 years fighting the Islamist militants.
"The 65 prisoners were freed and walked out of the Bagram prison compound this morning," Abdul Shukor Dadras, a member of the Afghan government review body, told AFP.
Ahead of the planned release, the US military said that the men were "dangerous individuals" directly linked to attacks killing or wounding 32 NATO personnel and 23 Afghans.
But President Hamid Karzai has called the prison a "Taliban-producing factory" and alleged that some detainees were tortured into hating their country.
Lieutenant General Ghulam Farouq, head of the military police that runs the Bagram prison, confirmed that the men had been released.
"They walked out of the facility and got into cars and headed off to their homes," he told AFP.
"We freed them and it's up to them how they left. We didn't prepare transport for them." (AFP)