Government of Afghanistan delaying the Taliban Prisoners can jeopardize the deal
Aljazeera, 14th March 2020 : The Afghan government has postponed its plan to release Taliban prisoners, a senior official said, a decision that could sabotage a deal signed last month between the armed group and the United States.
Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said on Saturday the releases were being delayed because more time was needed to review the list of Taliban prisoners.
“We are ready to start the process the way it is described in the presidential decree but we won’t release anyone if there is no guarantee that they will not return to fighting,” he said.
“The Taliban have to show flexibility.”
Earlier this week, President Ashraf Ghani announced that 1,500 Taliban prisoners would be freed as a “gesture of goodwill” in an attempt to resolve one of the long-running disputes with the armed group that had stalled intra-Afghan peace talks.
Ghani’s decree said the government would release 1,500 captives starting Saturday if the Taliban reduced violence, with plans to free another 3,500 prisoners after negotiations begin.
The Taliban rejected the offer and demanded the release of nearly 5,000 captives, citing it as one of the conditions behind the US-Taliban deal signed last month that excluded Kabul.
According to the US-Taliban agreement signed on February 29, foreign forces will withdraw from the country within 14 months in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and a pledge to hold talks with Kabul.