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U.S. Frees 80 Afghan Prisoners

16 January 2005 -- An Afghan court official said that some 80 Afghans held as terror suspects at a U.S. base in Afghanistan were freed today.

Court officials initially announced that the men were from the U.S. jail in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but later said they were mistaken.

Two buses brought the prisoners, all Afghan men, from the main U.S. base at Bagram to the Supreme Court in the Afghan capital Kabul.

U.S. and allied Afghan forces captured thousands of suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan during and since the bombing campaign that ousted the Taliban government in late 2001.

Hundreds have been classified as "enemy combatants" and transferred to the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, while many others have been held at a string of U.S. bases across Afghanistan.

U.S. military officials in Kabul had no comment on today's releases.

(wire reports)