Afghan Taliban have stopped its three-member delegation from further negotiating with the Afghan government regarding the Taliban prisoners’ issue.
According to the Taliban, the Afghan government is “non-serious” about the release of the Taliban prisoners’ issue.
The Taliban spokesman in Doha Sohail Shaheen told media that the Taliban had sent a three-member delegation to Kabul to verify and attest to the Taliban prisoners.
“But, unfortunately, the release of prisoners has been delayed under one pretext or another till now. Therefore, our technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings with relevant sides starting from tomorrow,” Suhail Shaheen said in his Twitter account.
Suhail Shahin further said that under the mutual agreement signed between the US and Taliban to end the war, the Afghan government was obliged to release 5000 Taliban.
The spokesman said that the delegation was in Kabul for identifying their men from the other culprits.
He further said, “Under the agreement, the prisoners were to be released on March 31, and the promise was reiterated just before we sent our delegation, after which the intra-Afghan dialogue process was to begin.
He further said that now the Afghan government is resorting to excuses and delaying tactics of one kind or another.
When asked if the Taliban want to release their 15 commanders, as the Afghan government claims, Suhail Shahin said: “they’re not commanders, but included in those 5000 prisoners’ list we gave to the government”.
“We wanted to release these 15 people before as they could help the delegation in identifying the rest of the prisoners. Afghan government’s claim that they’re commanders and will return to attack the government are baseless allegations,” Taliban spokesman said.
In a press release, the Afghan Taliban said that they are ready to release 100 people affiliated with the Afghan government, and added that the government should not obstruct the process of prisoners’ release.
The press release further said that the intra-Afghan dialogue process would follow the prisoners’ exchange. In the next phase, the critical decisions about Afghanistan are to be expected.
However, the press release stressed the need to follow the Doha agreement in letter and spirit. While criticizing the members of the delegation from the Afghan government’s side, the spokesman said, “the first step to form the delegation by Kabul, does not seem to be taken seriously. Instead, it seems to have been taken a casually-made decision.”
The press release further noted that all the stakeholders of the agreement, including Kabul government, would be participating as representatives than parties. No stakeholder would be allowed to hijack the peace process.
About the Taliban’s criticism of Afghan negotiating team, Presidential Palace’s spokesman, Latif Mahmoud, said that it is like asking a football team suggesting the opponent team to select players of its own liking.
Latif Mahmoud said that the Afghanistan government had formed its own negotiating team. He further added that the Taliban want the conditional release of prisoners in ten days, which he said is not possible.
He said it is a lengthy process, and the Taliban needs to wait.
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