Feb. 13 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his country's release of detainees, considered by Washington to be a security threat, was ''no concern'' to the United States. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai rejects U.S. criticism of his government's release of 65 detainees, viewed by Washington as dangerous militants, further fanning tensions with the United States as the international mission in Afghanistan winds down. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, SAYING: "Afghanistan is a sovereign country. If the Afghan judicial authorities decide to release a prisoner, it is of no concern to the U.S., and should be of no concern to the U.S. " Karzai, attending talks in Turkey, says the prisoners were all vetted before release. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, SAYING: "Our intelligence reported having no file reference of any kind whatsoever." In an unusually strong statement, the U.S. military force in Kabul says some of the released detainees had killed both Afghans and foreign soldiers and now pose a fresh threat. The Obama administration has been pressing Karzai for months to sign a bilateral security agreement with Washington that would allow some U.S. troops to stay beyond that deadline. It is unclear what effect the release would have on U.S. deliberations about what a possible post-2014 troop presence could look like, or on its view of the stalled security pact.