WASHINGTON — A Pentagon spokesman says that if any of the 65 Afghan militants who were released from a former U.S. prison return to the battlefield, U.S. forces might hunt them down.

The Pentagon's press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Friday that the 65 are not considered targets at the moment.

But Kirby is stressing that if they revert to what U.S. officials say was a role of attacking American and other international forces, as well as Afghans, they will do so, in Kirby's words, "at their own peril."

The 65 were released Thursday by the Afghan government over strenuous objections by the U.S. government, which says the men are dangerous Taliban fighters and bomb-makers likely to return to killing foreign forces and Afghans.