Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference on Friday that thousands of ISIS-K prisoners were released in Afghanistan after the government fell to the Taliban two weeks ago.
“I don’t know the exact number. Clearly, it’s in the thousands when you consider both prisons, because both of them were taken over by the Taliban and emptied. But I couldn’t give you a precise figure,” he said in response to a reporter who asked how many how many prisoners were left at Bagram Air Base.
Kirby said the US military was turning over its entities to Afghan security forces and blamed them for a lack of resistance as the Taliban advanced.
“And as for emptying out, remember we were turning things over to Afghan national security forces, that was part of the retrograde process, was to turn over these responsibilities. And so they did have responsibility for those prisons and the bases at which those prisons were located,” Kirby said. “And of course as the Taliban advanced, we didn’t see the level of resistance by the Afghans to hold some territory, some bases, and unfortunately those were the bases the Afghans didn’t hold.”
Among the thousands of prisoners released from Parwan Detention Facility at Bagram and a separate prison, Pul-e-Charkhi, were also senior Al Qaeda operatives and Taliban fighters.
ISIS-K likely carried out Thursday’s bombing outside the Kabul airport
ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul on Thursday that killed at least 13 US service members and wounded 18 more. More than 170 people were killed and at least 200 were wounded in the blast, an official with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health told CNN.
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