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BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Thursday morning, the gates of the Bagram Prison swung open and 65 men with long beards and new clothes walked out to freedom. The moment showed clearly just how thoroughly President Hamid Karzai had broken with the U.S. military, here now 12 years.
U.S. officials had lobbied intensely with the Afghan government, first in private and then in increasingly acrimonious terms in public, to prevent the release of men it believed were not only dangerous insurgents with U.S. and Afghan blood on their hands, but also men who would be convicted of that in an Afghan court of law.