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U.S. frees 81 Afghan detainees

Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan – The U.S. military freed 81 prisoners held in Afghanistan on Sunday, and the country’s most senior judge said the government was pressing for the release of hundreds more from American custody.

The prisoner release ahead of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, which begins Jan. 20, could help a reconciliation drive with former Taliban regime members sought by both President Hamid Karzai and the American military in hopes of defusing a stubborn insurgency hampering Afghanistan’s recovery.

In new violence, officials said a roadside bomb killed an Afghan soldier in eastern Kunar province Friday, an Afghan died trying to plant a similar device further south on Saturday and a grenade attack injured a pro-government mullah in central Uruzgan province.

Karzai’s office said the prisoners were freed thanks to “cooperation” between the government and the U.S. military.

Two buses brought the 81 Afghan prisoners from the main U.S. base at Bagram to the Supreme Court in the capital, Kabul, where the chief justice warned them to stay out of trouble and say little about their detention.

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