UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Iran Press TV

Afghan government releases over 100 Taliban prisoners

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 05 May 2020 3:15 PM

The Afghan government has released 102 more imprisoned Taliban militants in accordance with a recent agreement between the US and the militant group.

Javid Faisal, the spokesman for the Afghan National Security Council (NSC), announced in a Twitter post on Tuesday that the prisoners had been freed on the order of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a day earlier.

Faisal said that with the release of the latest batch of prisoners, Kabul has so far freed a total of 850 Taliban inmates from the 1500 agreed under a so-called US-Taliban peace deal in late February.

Stressing that more prisoners could be freed once talks start between Kabul and the Taliban, the Afghan official urged the militant group to continue releasing the country's National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and military personnel in accordance with the agreement.

Faisal announced on Sunday that the Taliban inmates were being released based on their age, health, and length of remaining sentence as part of efforts toward peace and combating the new coronavirus outbreak.

Under the deal signed on February 28, the Taliban agreed to halt their attacks in return for Washington's phased withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan and a prisoner exchange with the government in Kabul.

The Afghan government, which was excluded from the talks and was thus not a signatory to the accord, is required to release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners but reduced the number to 1,500 before the talks start. The militants are obliged to free 1,000 pro-government captives in return.

The agreement was supposed to lay the groundwork for a peace process in the war-ravaged Asian country but the Taliban militant group has already rejected a government offer of a ceasefire for the duration of Ramadan to help focus on efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

According to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), more than 500 civilians lost their lives in Afghanistan in the first three months of the year.

Washington is compelled under the deal to pull out American forces and foreign troops from Afghanistan by July next year, provided that the militants start talks with Kabul and adhere to other security guarantees.

About 14,000 US troops and approximately 17,000 troops from NATO allies and partner countries remain stationed in Afghanistan years after the invasion of the country that toppled a Taliban regime in 2001.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list