Taliban team arrives in Kabul to begin prisoner exchange process

  • A three-member Taliban team arrived in Kabul on Tuesday to start a prisoner exchange process to conclude 18 years of war.
  • The prison release is pivotal to Negotiations between both parties.
Afghan government to release 6000 Taliban prisoners
Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/2iKFeYU

A three-member Taliban team arrived in Kabul on Tuesday to start a prisoner exchange process. This is pivotal to begin talks with the government to end the 18 years old war in Afghanistan. 

The peace talk, in other words, called intra-Afghan dialogue, is due to an agreement that the Taliban signed with the United States in Doha. The agreement also includes the release of 6,000 Taliban prisoners held by the government of Afghanistan. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said that the three-member technical team has an important task. They are to identify and inspect the prisoners and their transportation. 

The prisoner exchange has been an issue between the Afghan government and the Taliban, differing over the timing and the process of the exchange. 

However, after several weeks of back and forth, the process is ready to begin as the Taliban team arrives. They will set up a camp in Kabul at a luxury hotel. 

A senior Afghan official confirmed that they have arrived. Also, he said they would begin discussions, and the release of prisoners might start in a few days, provided everything goes as planned. 

In addition, Mujahid said they expect practical work to start in a few days according to the deal with the government with the help of the US. However, the Taliban previously refused to speak with the government directly. 

Moreover, Mujahid added that the Taliban planned to send ten delegates, but had to cut it down to 3 due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the negotiation received a major boost as Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan President, endorsed the negotiating team. 

Abdullah tweeted that the formation of an inclusive negotiation team will significantly facilitate intra-Afghan negotiations. 


Prisoner exchange and Progress in Negotiations

Moreover, the difference in the election result of 2019 between Abdullah and Ghani was a threat to the peace process. It raised concerns in Washington. 


Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of State, termed the latest development as “good news.”

Last week, Pompeo flew to Afghanistan to urge both parties to progress with the process. At that point, it was a deadlock.

Pompeo told a news conference in Washington that, “We’ve seen a (negotiating) team identified. It looks like it’s pretty inclusive, pretty broad. We’re happy about that.”

He added that they are seeing some work done on the release of prisoners. All elements must come together for the inter-Afghan negotiations. This will prove as the only way that delivers hope for reconciliation and peace to the people. 

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