The Afghan government is preparing to release on Thursday morning 65 of 88 detainees who have participated in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, according to U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
"Detainees from this group of 65 are directly linked to attacks killing or wounding 32 U.S. or coalition personnel and 23 Afghan security personnel or civilians," the statement said.
U.S. officials had appealed to Afghanistan not to release the detainees, and said Tuesday the U.S. could target them upon release.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters on Tuesday that "it is the U.S. position that these [detainees] are threats to U.S. forces, and should they take up arms against us, we will take immediate action," according to Reuters.
"Of course we would try to kill or capture them, as the battlefield situation presents," he said.
The U.S. also listed the names of and a summary of evidence against four of the detainees who will be released beginning Thursday morning, including:
-- Mohammad Wali, a suspected Taliban explosives expert, who was linked to a number of improvised explosive device (IED) incidents;
-- Nek Mohammad, accused of facilitating rocket attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, and was apprehended with heavy weapons and 25 pounds of homemade explosives;
-- Mohammadullah is believed to be a Haqqani network IED specialist who builds and emplaces IEDs; and
-- Ehsanullah is a suspected Haqqani network commander who plans IED operations and attacks against ANSF and coalition forces.
“It remains the position of USFOR-A that violent criminals who harm Afghans and threaten the peace and security of Afghanistan should face justice in the Afghan courts, where a fair and transparent trial would determine their guilt or innocence,” the statement said.