Taliban committed to sit for peace talks with the Afghan factions once their prisoners were released completely.
Afghan Govt Resumes Release of Taliban Prisoners
The Afghan government has begun the release of the last portion of Taliban detainees, following the Taliban’s release of Afghan commandos.
These Taliban were singled-out for having allegedly committed serious crimes.
Amrullah Saleh, the Afghan first vice president, on Wednesday said that currently no commando is in the Taliban’s custody, stating that the Taliban’s prisoners will be released in several phases.
The remarks came hours after sources close to the peace process said that the Afghan government had released 200 out of 320 prisoners since Monday.
The source stated that the Afghan government will soon finalize the release of another 120 Taliban members.
“May God help us to establish a Sharia (Islamic) system in Afghanistan,” said Sher Mohammad, a newly released member of the Taliban in Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan.
“We want this nation to be united and move forward towards prosperity,” said Abdul Rashid, a released member of the Taliban in Kandahar.
“Our commandos were handed over in Aino Meena (a township in Kandahar). We went there and checked their identity to confirm that no other commando remains in the Taliban’s custody. Later we decided to release the remaining prisoners slowly,” said Saleh.
A government source said that up to 200 Taliban prisoners have been released in the past two days.
137 Taliban detainees held by the government were released from a prison in Kandahar and from Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul, said the source.
“I want stability in Afghanistan so that we can live in an environment of peace and security,” said Yar Mohammad, a former Taliban prisoner.
The Taliban have pledged that those released will not return to the battlefield.
“Their elders have pledged that these prisoners will not return to the battlefields after their release,” said Agha Lalai Dastgiri, the deputy governor of Kandahar province.
Apparently, the Afghan government is still in talks with the Australian and French authorities about the release of six high profile Taliban prisoners.
Sources in the government said that progress has been made in the talks between the Afghan government and French officials; however, Australia still has reservations about the release of six Taliban prisoners.
“These six prisoners are on the blacklist of three countries, they are involved in the deliberate killing of their citizens. Their families have launched a campaign—-if these prisoners are released, there is a possibility that our relations will decline—because of this, the release was suspended,” said Amrullah Saleh, the Afghan first vice president.
With the release of another 120 Taliban prisoners, the total numbers mentioned in the Doha agreement–5,000 Taliban prisoners released by the government for 1,000 government prisoners released by the Taliban–will be completed.