KABUL  - Afghanistan's president on Wednesday demanded the release of dozens of prisoners from US custody and said all inmates held in breach of an agreement must be transferred immediately to Afghan authorities.Hamid Karzai's call for "urgent actions" by Thursday came days after the start of complex bilateral talks on a security pact on the role the United States would play in Afghanistan after most of its troops are withdrawn by the end of 2014.Karzai's demands follow a meeting with top defence, police and legal officials who inspected Bagram prison and concluded the United States had violated an agreement governing the transfer of the jail to Afghan control.He issued a statement giving the United States until Thursday to act swiftly to "set free all the inmates that need to be released as per Afghanistan applicable laws" and hand over any prisoners who were captured by US forces after the bilateral agreement had been signed.Washington turned over the high-security prison and around 3,000 suspected Taliban fighters to Afghan control in a six-month period that ended on September 10, with a grace period of two months. The sprawling prison has been likened to Guantanamo in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq because of allegations of serious abuses of detainees.Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said on Monday that more than 70 detainees who had been cleared by Afghan courts were being wrongfully held by US authorities. The row could complicate already thorny negotiations over the future US military presence in Afghanistan, which includes technical issues such as visas and whether foreign troops would be immune from prosecution in Afghanistan. The prison deal took almost a year to finalise and had paved the way for discussions on the US status-of-forces role. Some critics say Karzai is pushing the prison issue hard as a means of strengthening his own hand in the negotiations.His spokesman Faizi said "administrative detention", a term used by the United States to describe suspects deemed security threats who are held without charge, did not exist under Afghan law and was therefore illegal. "There are some prisoners found innocent by the court are still in custody. This act is a serious breach of a memorandum of understanding," Faizi told reporters on Monday.In Geneva, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay harshly condemned Thursday the execution of 14 prisoners at a prison near Kabul this week., and called on Afghan President Karzai to abolish capital punishment."I urge President Karzai to show that the rule of law can also be built on clemency and humanity, and that Afghanistan too will join the worldwide trend against the death penalty," Pillay said in a statement. On Tuesday, Afghanistan executed eight prisoners on death row for crimes including murder, kidnapping and rape, and a day later, six terror convicts were hanged.The public hangings marked a rare use of the death penalty in the war-wracked country, where executions have been infrequent since the fall of the Taliban Islamist regime in 2001, which put people to death for adultery and other infringements of Islamic law. Pillay lamented that Karzai himself approved the executions this week, stressing that use of the death penalty was especially worrying in a country with such a weak legal system."Under international law and Afghanistan's own treaty obligations, the death penalty must be reserved for the most serious crimes and only applied after the most rigorous judicial process," she said, pointing out that "in the past, shortcomings in the Afghan judicial procedure have raised serious questions about such cases."The resumption of executions in Afghanistan also stood in stark contrast to the general trend of more and more countries moving to abolish the death penalty or place a moratorium on executions, Pillay said."More and more countries are recognising that the death penalty does harm to society," she said.The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also voiced "disappointment" at India's execution of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab for his role in the attack on Mumbai in 2008 -- the country's first execution since 2004."There can be no question of the gravity of the crimes committed in Mumbai, but in equally serious crimes, international tribunals have imposed sentences of life imprisonment," Pillay said.She added that she hoped "India too will move towards total abolition" of the death penalty.