Friday, January 10, 2014

Afghanistan Updates January 10 , 2014 - Afghanistan President Karzai continues to ignore the "high Hat " demands from US Officials , The State Department , The US Military , Obama and Kerry .... Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed that 72 of the 88 detainees the Obama Administration is trying to keep in Bagram are now entirely cleared for release, with 45 of them totally cleared of any wrongdoing and 27 others lacking sufficient evidence to hold them ......... US Envoy: Karzai Unlikely to Meet New Deadline on Troop Deal US Keeps Setting Ultimatums, But Afghans Stand Firm

US Marines Kill Afghan Toddler ‘Mistaken for the Enemy’

US Shrugs Off Killing, Citing Bad Weather

by Jason Ditz, January 10, 2014
Outrage is spreading across Afghanistan yet again, after an incident early today in the Helmand Province where US Marines attacked and killed a four-year-old boy.
The US has shrugged off the incident so far, saying that the weather was “dusty” that day and they just assumed the four-year-old was probably the enemy. NATO has said it will “investigate,” but reiterated that the US had taken “all possible measures” to avoid civilian deaths, except for apparently the measure of not shooting at children.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was quick to condemn the killing, saying they have repeatedly warned the US against military operations against civilian homes and villages.
Though the young age of the child makes this a particularly major outrage, it is not uncommon for US troops to kill random civilians in this manner, and NATO investigations, to the extent they’re ever completed and announced publicly, virtually always exonerate the killers as having acted “appropriately.”

US warns Afghanistan against releasing 72 ‘dangerous criminals’

Published time: January 10, 2014 03:39
Afghan President Hamid Karzai.(AFP Photo / Findlay Kember)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai.(AFP Photo / Findlay Kember)
In the latest blow to strained US-Afghan relations, President Hamid Karzai has announced he plans to free dozens of prisoners that the US says have committed crimes against Americans and are considered a security threat.
The US is against releasing the inmates as officials claim they have been involved in injuring or killing forces from the US and other coalition nations. Yet Karzai said that only 16 of the 88 prisoners in question will be kept in custody and tried because there is not sufficient evidence against the rest of the accused.
Karzai’s announcement has been portrayed as yet another step backward for diplomacy between the two nations. He has resisted pressure from US President Obama and other officials to sign a security agreement that would determine the nature of US military presence in country past 2014.
These 72 detainees are dangerous criminals against whom there is strong evidence linking them to terror-related crimes, including the use of improvised explosive devices, the largest killer of Afghan civilians,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a news briefing Thursday.
The prisoner release is expected to come within days, and US officials have complained that turning over evidence against the inmates who will eventually be freed has done little to convince Karzai to change his ways.
When asked about whether releasing the inmates lowers the chance that a security deal will ultimately be signed Psaki would only say that “time will tell.”
Amil Faizi, Karzai’s spokesman, said there is no evidence against 45 of the 88 prisoners and the evidence against another 27 is too little to be enough to warrant a trial. He also compared the detention to the situation at Bagram Air Force base, where US forces have kept dozens of Afghans without charges for years.
We cannot allow innocent Afghan citizens to be kept in detention for months and years without a trial for no reason at all,” Faizi told Reuters Thursday. “We know that unfortunately this has been happening at Bagram, but it is illegal and a violation of afghan sovereignty and we cannot allow this anymore.”
US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) spoke to reporters during a trip to Kabul last week and warned that freeing the prisoners “would have an unbelievably negative impact” on diplomacy. Graham also said that “a backlash in the US congress” is inevitable, yet he did not go so far as to threaten US withdrawal over the matter.
Yet Faizi disagreed, arguing that this issue and the biliateral security agreement are unrelated and that much of the evidence US forces have provided is not satisfactory.
They are two separate issues. The BSA is one issue. But the Afghans detained illegally is another issue. It’s not something we can allow to happen,” he said before admitting violence has become so prevalent in Afghanistan that it would be impossible to compare the US and Afghan legal systems.
In the countryside, in almost every house you can find a Kalashnikov,” he said. “It’s not enough to keep someone else in detention.”
The discrepancy heated up just as news of the latest civilian casualty spread throughout Afghanistan. US Marines, conducting a mission in the southern Helmand province, fatally shot a 4-year-old boy. A spokesman for the provincial government confirmed the news to reporters but refused to give details on the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

Angering US, Karzai to Free Bagram Prisoners

16 Others to Remain Pending Further Review

by Jason Ditz, January 09, 2014
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed that 72 of the 88 detainees the Obama Administration is trying to keep in Bagram are now entirely cleared for release, with 45 of them totally cleared of any wrongdoing and 27 others lacking sufficient evidence to hold them.
The other 16 aren’t facing trial either, with officials saying there’s not enough to prosecute, but they have enough evidence that they will continue to be held pending further review.
That 88 were initially slated for release by the Afghan Review Board, which sparked US complaints that the board was never meant to have the power to release anybody, but was only meant to decide between prosecution and indefinite detention.
US officials continue to warn that the release of the detainees threatens US-Afghan ties in the long run, but the paucity of evidence justifying the detentions, which is clearly not a big deal for the US anymore, has Afghanistan’s fledgling justice system convinced they can’t just keep them in prison forever.
In a way, this reflects how much the US has changed in the past 12 years, as it was the US that tried to establish the Afghan system in their own theoretical image, and now sees their interest in things like due process and evidence as a source of tension.

US Envoy: Karzai Unlikely to Meet New Deadline on Troop Deal

US Keeps Setting Ultimatums, But Afghans Stand Firm

by Jason Ditz, January 09, 2014
After missing the Obama Administration’s “ultimatum” to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by the end of December, officials told the Karzai government they wanted it done within “weeks, not months.”
Now, US Ambassador James Cunningham is admitting that the Karzai government is “unlikely” to meet that deadline either, saying he thinks Karzai will stick to his initial pledge not to sign until after the April vote.
The BSA would govern the US occupation of Afghanistan “through 2024 and beyond,” and Karzai has repeatedly said he won’t sign the deal before the election, which ends his term in office.
Karzai had been pushing for the US to make pledges to end night raids and drone strikes, citing the growing civilian casualties, while the US demands the deal be signed exactly as written.
Though the Obama Administration has made it clear they want the BSA signed as soon as possible, it is unclear why they keep going public with ultimatums that they don’t believe Karzai will accept, and coupling them with threats to withdraw that they have no intention of following through on.

Links to additional items of note .......