Kabul, May 26
The Afghan authorities introduced it will free 900 prisoners on Tuesday, its single largest prisoner launch because the US and the Taliban signed a peace deal earlier this 12 months that spells out an alternate of detainees between the warring sides.
The announcement got here as a three-day ceasefire with the insurgents attracts to an finish. The Taliban had known as for the truce through the Muslim vacation of Eid al-Fitr that marks the top of the Islamic holy month of Ramzan.
There are expectations that the prisoner launch may result in new reductions in violence, and Taliban officers say they’re contemplating an extension of the ceasefire.
A senior Taliban determine confirmed this to The Associated Press.
“If these developments, just like the announcement of prisoner launch continues, it’s doable to maneuver ahead with selections like extending the transient cease-fire and to maneuver in a positive path with some minor points,” stated the Taliban official.
The prisoners have been being launched from Bagram jail, the place the US nonetheless maintains a serious army base, north of Kabul, in addition to from the notorious Pul-e-Charkhi jail on the japanese fringe of the Afghan capital.
By late afternoon, the AP witnessed scores of males pouring out of the Bagram compound — presumably the launched prisoners.
It was not instantly doable to confirm their numbers or whether or not they have been all Taliban members.
The prisoner launch is a part of the US take care of the Taliban, signed on February 29 to permit for the eventual withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, bringing to an finish the nation’s protracted struggle and America’s longest army involvement.
When the deal was signed, it was touted as Afghanistan’s greatest likelihood for peace after many years of struggle however political feuding in Kabul and delays in prisoner exchanges have slowed the deal’s progress towards intra-Afghan negotiations, thought of the second and most important part of the accord.
Under the deal, Kabul is to launch 5,000 Taliban prisoners whereas the insurgents are to free 1,000 captives they maintain, largely authorities officers and Afghan forces, earlier than intra-Afghan negotiations can start.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the Taliban cease-fire announcement through the Muslim vacation.
Javid Faisal, a nationwide safety spokesman in Kabul, urged the Taliban to increase the cease-fire and stated the federal government would launch 900 prisoners on Tuesday.
That would carry to 2,000 the variety of Taliban prisoners launched to this point beneath the US-Taliban deal.
The Taliban say they’ve launched 240 of captives they held.
However, the Taliban have but to verify whether or not these launched to this point by the federal government have been among the many 5,000 names the insurgents had given US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, the architect of the February 29 deal.
A second Taliban official instructed the AP that these launched to this point have been the truth is on the Taliban checklist of calls for, together with the uncle of Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada.
Key in deciding which names would seem on the checklist was Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, a senior determine who had just lately recovered from COVID-19, the sickness brought on by the coronavirus.
Turabi was the a lot feared vice and advantage minister through the Taliban rule, identified for beating males who have been discovered listening to music or not attending the mosque. He as soon as slapped a Taliban commander who spoke with a lady journalist.
Both Taliban officers spoke to the AP on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to speak to reporters.
Many Afghans have expressed frustration on the sluggish and infrequently stalled peace course of; many have identified solely battle of their homeland for the previous a number of many years.
“If both sides stop this war and sit at the negotiating table … maybe my youngest children will experience a good life, which we never experienced,” stated Sayed Agha, a truck driver from japanese Logar province who was wounded in April, caught within the crossfire throughout a battle between the Taliban and Afghan troopers.
“I have spent my whole life in war,” stated Agha, 45. AP