The United States has engaged for several years in a secret program to release captured high-level militants from a prison in Afghanistan as part of a bid to calm violence in some provinces, The Washington Post reports. The “strategic release” program is risky, U.S. officials have acknowledged, but they have come to see it as a necessary bargaining chip in regions where violence has shown little sign of abating. “Everyone agrees that these are bad guys,” one U.S. official told The Post. “But the benefits outweigh the risks.” The militants are asked to pledge not to engage in violence against U.S. or Afghan troops again or risk further detainment. Officials would not comment on how many detainees released from the Parwan detention center may have returned to violence.