Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the US has to ‘stop harassing’ his country’s judicial authorities and “respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty” amid a row over the Afghan prisoner release.
Karzai made the comment at the end of a three-way summit in the Turkish capital city of Ankara on Thursday.
“Afghanistan is a sovereign country. If the Afghan judicial authorities decide to release the prisoners, it is of no concern to the US and should be of no concern to the US,” Karzai told reporters, adding, “I hope that the United States will stop harassing Afghanistan’s procedures and judicial authority.”
“The very presence of the Bagram prison is against the Afghan law and Afghan sovereignty,” Karzai said, after meeting Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif in Turkey’s capital.
The remarks come after the US military protested Kabul’s decision to release 65 inmates from Parwan detention center. The move came in defiance of the US that had already warned Kabul against releasing the prisoners.
Washington describes the inmates as dangerous criminals. But Afghan officials had rejected the argument and said there was no convincing evidence against the prisoners.
Several months ago, Washington and Kabul signed a deal under which the US consented to give control of the Bagram Detention Center in the northeastern province of Parwan to Afghan forces.
Ties between Kabul and Washington have already been tense ahead of the planned withdrawal of the US-led troops from Afghanistan by year-end.
Tensions have been high between the two countries over the signing of a long-delayed security deal which would allow US forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal date.