The months-long deadlock between the Taliban and the Afghan government that had stalled intra-Afghan dialogue over prisoners issues has ended.
According to a Taliban spokesman, the Afghan government has initiated the process of releasing the remaining few hundred Taliban prisoners. It is being considered as a welcome move towards the resumption of the peace dialogue.
Initially, these dialogues were to be held in March. However, there were various irritants on both sides, among them, the most critical was the deadlock over prisoners’ release. Due to these impediments, dialogues were stalled time and again. However, the situation seems to be optimistic following the latest development, which will see the Taliban’s long demands to release its prisoners. Some of those are allegedly involved in serious crimes, including murder and terrorism.
On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AFP, “Our prisoners have been released, and we are taking it as a positive step that will pave the way for the upcoming Intra-Afghan dialogue.”
Another Taliban office-bearer said that around 200 prisoners had been released on Monday. He said that the Taliban had released four Afghan commandos in exchange for this favor, while more commandos would be released on Wednesday (today).
On the condition of not being named, a high office-bearer of the Afghan government told AFP that “Dozens of Taliban prisoners had been released on Monday.” The unnamed officer added that the remaining prisoners would be released in a few days.
Intra-Afghan dialogues were aimed at deciding the future of the war-ravaged country by the local stakeholders and were decided by the peace process signed between the Taliban and the US.
Earlier, the Afghan government had backtracked from its decision to release of 400 Taliban. Kabul government persisted that it will not release the remaining Taliban unless the militant group does not release the Afghan officials.
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The US-Taliban agreement deemed the release of 1000 Afghan officials incarcerated by the Taliban in exchange for 5000 Taliban fighters.
However, later Kabul government stalled the release of the last 400 Taliban prisoners, who could “pose a threat to the world”.
On August 9, a high-profile Loya Jirga, however, decided to favor the release of the 400 Taliban.
France and Australia opposed the move, particularly as these 400 fighters included some Taliban who was accused of attacks against their citizens.
However, it is not yet clear the prisoners released on Monday include those accused of the foreign attacks.
On the other side, Washington had been pushing for the release of the Taliban fighters in order to resume the intra-Afghan dialogue
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