IRNA: Iran, Pakistan to free Afghan prisoners
- Iran, Pakistan to free Afghan prisoners
Kabul, Dec 1, IRNA -- Iran and Pakistan have pledged to free a number of Afghan nationals kept in their custodies, it was reported Saturday.
Afghan News Agency Bakhtar reported that Pakistan is to liberate soon hundreds of Afghans detained by the Pakistan police.
Reportedly the United Arab Emirates had mediated to secure the release of the Afghan detainees.
Pakistan's decision to release Afghans is in response to Afghanistan's releasing of a number of Pakistanis prisoners.
Afghan interim government on November 26 freed 87 Pakistanis made prisoners in Afghanistan by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance but were detained for questioning by Pakistani officials after they crossed at Torkham border.
The officials of the Internal Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) handed over the freed prisoners to Pakistan Embassy in Kabul who were later driven in buses to Pak-Afghan border, the officials said.
This is the second group of Pakistani prisoners freed this month. A group of 15 aged Pakistani prisoners were released earlier this month.
Several thousands of Pakistanis crossed into Afghanistan last year to help Taliban against the American-led attack on Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has so far released more than 400 Pakistani prisoners. According to reports the freed men include about 47 woodcutters from the North West Frontier Province who had gone to Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan some months ago to seek work with forest contractors. Afghan contractors used to hire the poor woodcutters every summer and take them to Afghanistan without visas.
However, military commanders affiliated to the Northern Alliance arrested the woodcutters, mostly belonging to Madyan in Swat and shifted them to prisons in Kabul.
The remaining prisoners include those who were caught fighting alongside the Taliban before September 11 attacks in the US. All the
Pakistani prisoners were shifted to Kabul sometime back but their release was delayed on one pretext or the other.
Karzai also called on Iran to abide by its pledges to liberate those Afghan prisoners who have not private complainants.
Iran's envoy to Kabul Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian said the call by the Afghan government for the release of Afghan prisoners in Iran has been accepted by the Iranian Embassy in Afghanistan but action on liberating the Afghan prisoners has yet to be done in future.
There are a large number of the Afghan nationals who have been arrested and committed to prison on charges of the drug trafficking-related offenses and other crimes.
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