Release of Taliban militants increases Afghani-U.S. tensions

February 20, 2014 5:00 pm0 commentsViews: 2

This past Thursday, the Afghan government released 65 prisoners against the United States’ various protests. These prisoners are suspected Taliban militants, and the U.S. fears that upon their liberation from Bagram detention center, they may resume their violence.

The U.S has labeled these detainees as being directly linked to several violent acts. One of these events resulted in the death of 32 NATO troops, including Americans and Afghanis. The dead included civilians and soldiers alike. The U.S. is very concerned that tragedies like this will continue to happen following the prisoners’ release.

The U.S. responded to the release of the prisoners by disclosing several of the prisoners’ names and evidence against them—a rare act by the U.S. military. The United States Embassy in Kabul condemned the actions taken by Afghanistan; the embassy released a statement to the press: “The Afghan government bears responsibility for the results of its decision.”

President Karzai responded sternly to the U.S., declaring, “Afghanistan is a sovereign country. If Afghan judiciary authorities decide to release prisoners, it’s of no concern to the U.S.”

Because of Karzai’s strong stance, the U.S. now seems unable to influence the global stage as much as it once could. President Karzai’s regime in Afghanistan has become more impervious to the United State’s wishes. This ever-worsening relationship between the Afghan and U.S. governments could impact the possibility of an early withdrawal of American troops.

Security pacts between the U.S. and Afghanistan have been under discussion over the past couple of weeks. Because of the recent disturbance in the Afghan-U.S. relationship, Karzai  has not yet signed the security pact that could keep 10,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Both sides would benefit from the pact; however, the pact has reached an impasse. Karzai’s terms for signing the document have become: the United States’ help in making a peace deal between the Afghan government as well as with  the Taliban. However, the U.S. has argued that these are unrealistic goals and are not going to be accomplished in the near future. Both sides’ refusal to cooperate will leave the beneficial pact unsigned.

Many U.S. officials now view Karzai as the one pushing against bipartisanship by refusing to sign, as well as by releasing these prisoners. Many U.S. Represenatives and Senators have spoken out against Karzai, claiming that his refusal to sign is a refusal of peace. However, the Afghan government now views the situation as a big step towards independence and sovereignty.

For Afghanistan, the steps taken by both Karzai and his administration have led to a newfound presence and assertion across the global stage. Many nations are often afraid of disagreeing with the United States. However, Karzai’s bold move to release the prisoners may demand the respect from the international community necessary to see progress in the war in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has been stepping away from U.S. influence and towards being its own state and making its own decisions. This means that the U.S. could be losing its grip in the Middle-East. For the United States, this has sparked an active debate. Many argue that the U.S. has a responsibility to aid and resolve foreign conflict, while others view this as unneccessary and endangering our own citizens, as well as foreign civilians. Only time will tell whether this new Afghani-American dynamic will be good or bad for the United States and the war in Afghanistan.