Afghanistan Government Agreed to Release Taliban Prisoners as Moving Closer to Peace Talks

Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani has agreed to set free around 1,500 prisoners of Taliban militants in the next few days. As Reuters explained, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, a decree for releasing prisoners was announced by the present government as part of its efforts to install a long-lasting peace in the war-torn country. The United Nations (UN) also supported the US-led process including talks between the stakeholders and agencies for ending the country’s 18-year war.

Peace Talks of US-Taliban

The US has been in several talks with the Taliban on the one hand and the Afghanistan government on the other to sort out a peace plan in the war-ridden country, Afghanistan. Last month, the US had agreed to a phased-wise withdrawal of the US-led foreign forces on the condition that the Taliban keeps its commitment to abstain from violence. Meanwhile, the US has also initiated a talk with an Afghan government delegation on a political settlement to end decades of conflict.

Meanwhile, Washington earlier has warned the militant group, Taliban that the current high level of violence was “not conducive to advancing the peace process” following a US-drafted resolution was unanimously adopted by the 15-member UN Security Council. However, several analysts claimed that the peace process has been disturbed due to several conflicting promises in the drafted documents as a result of separate meetings between US-Taliban and US-Afghanistan.

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet explained that the militant group had made promises to renounce attacking in cities and against major US military bases. She insisted, “but more needs to be done and we urge them to also reduce violence against Afghan forces in the countryside to give intra-Afghan negotiations and peace the opportunity to succeed.”

Releasing Prisoners

According to Reuters, the two-page decree signed by Ghani has announced to release Taliban prisoners on a condition that these prisoners had to assure through “a written guarantee to not return to the battlefield.”

The decree mentioned that the talks between the government and the Taliban would continue besides releasing the prisoners to make sure that the group remained committed to its promise of reducing violence against the government.

Ghani’s office, which is likely to make the prisoner release decree public soon, hinted that it expected to take at least four days to begin the process. The office further added, “The process of releasing 1,500 Taliban prisoners will be completed within 15 days, with 100 prisoners walking out of Afghan jails every day.”

Taliban leaders, claiming to honor the deal, have initiated its plan to collect the prisoners and promised to hand over 1,000 government troops in exchange. Earlier on Tuesday, former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has her take on the US-Taliban deal saying, “It is difficult to have an agreement when you leave out the government of the country that you are expecting to uphold and live under that agreement.”

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