Afghan President Hamid Karzai carried through on a plan long dreaded by the U.S. on Thursday, releasing 65 detainees despite fervent protestations from U.S. military commanders that the men were violent insurgents who had killed American and Afghan troops in the past -- and were likely to return to the battlefield and do so again in the future.
The move is the latest issue driving a wedge between Karzai and the Obama administration, nominal allies who have been waging an increasingly vitriolic war of words for months. But it's more than that: It's a signal, coming through loud and clear, that Afghanistan will no longer allow the U.S. to exert influence over its justice system or control a notorious military prison that has been the site of alleged abuse for years.…
… "It's a huge disappointment and yet another indication that the relationship between the U.S.A. and Hamid Karzai is permanently shattered," retired Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis, [Dean of The Fletcher School, Tufts University and] the top commander of NATO from 2009 to 2013, told Foreign Policy. But all is not lost, he added.
"Hopefully after the April election, we can rebuild and reset with a new government and, above all, the vast majority of Afghans, who support a positive, robust relationship between our nations," Stavridis said.
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