Afghan Govt to Release 900 Taliban Inmates amid Ceasefire

  • Date of Publication : 26/05/2020 at 08:33 GMT
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The Afghan government is set to release around 900 Taliban prisoners today from prisons across Afghanistan, the Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) has told.

Around 1,100 Taliban prisoners have been released in smaller groups in the past few weeks, but this is the biggest number to be released in one group.

On Saturday evening the Taliban announced a ceasefire for the three days of Eid. In response, President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday pledged to release 2,000 more Taliban prisoners, and to focus on furthering peace efforts.

A total of 5,000 Taliban prisoners released by the Afghan government and 1,000 security force members released by the Taliban was called for in the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha at the end if February.

On Monday the Afghan government released 100 Taliban prisoners as part of the 2,000 prisoners it pledged to release, according to Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

In response to the government’s gesture, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said the pledge to release 2,000 prisoners — by the Afghan government — is a good step but he said that the process of releasing 5,000 prisoners should be completed to create a suitable environment for confidence building.

On May 11 the Afghan government suspended the release of insurgent prisoners, saying the Taliban must bring its total number of released security force members to 200. The government claimed that so far the group had only freed “105.”

The release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners was included as part of the US-Taliban deal signed in Doha on Feb. 29.

This comes after the Taliban announced a ceasefire on the occasion of three days of Eid on Saturday night. In reciprocal move, Ghani also announced a ceasefire with the group.

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