Afghanistan to release 400 Talibans in move for peace talks
August 9, 2020 - In a bid to begin peace talks which will herald an end to the over 19 years war, the government of Afghanistan has agreed to release 400 “hard-core” Taliban prisoners.
Following pressure from the U.S. for American Troops to be returned home, Afghanistan's Grand Assembly (Loya Jirga) approved on Sunday for the release of prisoners, a condition which the Taliban insisted on.
“In order to remove an obstacle, allow the start of the peace process and an end of bloodshed, the Loya Jirga approves the release of 400 Taliban,” the assembly said in a resolution.
Speaking later, President Ashraf Ghani of the country said, “Today, I will sign the release order of these 400 prisoners.”
Last week Ghani invited some 3,200 Afghan community leaders and politicians to Kabul amid tight security and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic to advise the government on whether the prisoners should be freed.
With the release, the Afghan government will fulfil its pledge to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
Talks between the warring Taliban and government will start in Doha this week, Western diplomats said. Ghani appealed to the hardline Islamist group to pledge to a complete ceasefire ahead of talks.