Kabul, August 17
The Afghan authorities stated on Monday it will not launch the final 320 Taliban prisoners it’s holding till the insurgents free extra captured troopers, defying a standard council held final week and additional delaying intra-Afghan talks sought by the United States.
The talks, which had been specified by a peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in February, had been anticipated to start on Thursday however at the moment are postponed indefinitely.
The ruling by the standard council, or jirga, which referred to as for the quick launch of the Taliban prisoners, had raised hopes of a breakthrough within the course of.
The US-Taliban peace deal referred to as on the Taliban to free 1,000 authorities and navy personnel and for the federal government to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners. The prisoner releases had been to be a goodwill gesture forward of intra-Afghan negotiations geared toward devising a postwar roadmap.
“We are going to release them. That’s not an issue. But it has to be two-way,” authorities spokesman Sediq Sediqqi advised The Associated Press.
“If we take this bold step, releasing all these guys, all these bad people, why are the Taliban not releasing our captives, which is a very small number?”
Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s political spokesman, stated the group had fulfilled its obligations and was not conscious of some other safety personnel in its custody who had been to be launched.
“We have released 1,000 prisoners that we had promised to release,” Shaheen stated.
The Taliban have stated they’re able to open talks with the federal government inside one week of the discharge of the final Taliban prisoners.
The take care of the Taliban is geared toward ending the US struggle in Afghanistan that started shortly after the September 11 assaults.
US troops have already begun leaving, and by November fewer than 5,000 troops are anticipated to nonetheless be within the nation. That’s down from almost 13,000 when the settlement was signed February 29.
Under the settlement, the withdrawal of US troops doesn’t hinge on the success of intra-Afghan talks however on commitments made by the Taliban to fight terrorist teams and guarantee Afghanistan just isn’t used as a staging floor for assaults on the US and its allies.
Since signing the settlement, the Taliban have held to a promise to not assault US and NATO troops, however have carried out common assaults on Afghan safety forces.
The authorities desires an instantaneous cease-fire, whereas the Taliban have stated the phrases ought to be agreed within the negotiations.
Sediqqi stated Australia and France have additionally objected to releasing among the final Taliban prisoners as a result of they had been concerned in assaults on their forces. He stated the federal government desires to handle their considerations.
But President Ashraf Ghani set a precedent when he reached a peace take care of US-declared terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in 2016.
Hekmatyar’s group was blamed for an assault on a grocery store within the capital that killed civilians in addition to an assault in 2014 that killed two US contractors.
The French additionally argued towards his delisting as a terrorist due to an assault his group staged towards French forces in Afghanistan in 2008 that killed 10 French troopers.
Both the Taliban and the federal government have accused one another of making hurdles within the peace course of.
Sediqqi stated the federal government had confirmed its goodwill by releasing 5,000 Taliban and that it by no means dedicated to releasing a specific checklist of insurgents.
“I think it’s time for the Taliban to realise that there will be no concession anymore,” stated Sediqqi. “Whatever we have done so far as the Afghan government and the peace process, that should be enough for the Taliban to come to the negotiation table.” AP