Afghan Government Finally Releases 100 Taliban Prisoners

After continuous delays and unending negotiations, the Afghan government has released 100 Taliban prisoners, a move expected to be a step closer to intra-Afghan talks according to reports in Tolo News.

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“Pursuant to President Ghani’s decree of March 11, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan released 100 Taliban prisoners today based on their health condition, age and length of remaining sentence as part of our efforts for peace and containment of coronavirus,” the Office of National Security Council said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“The 100 prisoners were on the broader list that the Taliban technical team shared and discussed during meetings with the technical team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Kabul,” said the statement by the Office of the National Security Council.

“The National Directorate of Security and the Attorney General’s Office thoroughly vetted the prisoners, who have taken an oath never to return to the battlefield. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has received the same assurance from the group’s leadership in Doha,” according to the statement.

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This comes a day after Waheed Omar, a top advisor to President Ghani, had said that the release of Taliban prisoners is a lengthy process and there is no need to panic. He said that the Afghan government remains dedicated to the prisoner swap with the Taliban, but in order to make this happen, there is a need for good intentions from both sides.

“This process is a lengthy process, there is no need to be hasty. Of course, no prisoner will be released unconditionally within the span of ten days, as we stated before. Our position regarding this issue is very clear– on how to do this job and under what conditions,” said Omar.

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Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, the peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government had been called off.

In a tweet first sent in Pashto, the Taliban’s political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said its technical team would not participate in “fruitless meetings”, and the release of their inmates was being “delayed under one pretext or another”.

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“Therefore, our technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings with relevant sides starting from tomorrow,” Shaheen, who is based in Doha, said in a subsequent tweet in English.