US and Afghan militant carousel

The decision by the US to hand over of the Bagram Prison was said to have been eased in part by “private assurances” from Afghan officials. “We are on the same page,”  Kerry said. “I don’t think there is any disagreement between us,” Among those released in recent years by Afghan officials or Afghan courts were most of the 46 Taliban prisoners who had been returned from the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. One became the top insurgent commander in southern Afghanistan — Maulavi Abdul Qayum Zakir, whose real name is Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul. He was released from an Afghan prison in late 2008, just before the American troop surge was to start. And the suicide bomber who in December nearly killed Asadullah Khalid, the head of the Afghan intelligence service, had been freed by a presidential pardon, according to officials of that agency. Prison releases have led to the return to the battlefield of some high-level Taliban figures, a senior Afghan military official said. Among those confirmed to have returned to the fight, the official said, were Maulavi Said Khail, who is now a Taliban commander in Wardak Province; Maulavi Shaheer, who turned formerly peaceful Badakhshan Province into a new war zone, where 17 Afghan soldiers were killed in a single battle this month and 10 more were taken hostage on Monday; and Maulavi Raouf, who has become one of several new commanders in Helmand Province, where the insurgents are trying to regain control as American surge forces have pulled out.

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