Taliban accuse Kabul of re-arresting freed insurgents

Taliban accuse Kabul of re-arresting freed insurgents

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Kabul: The Taliban accused the Afghan security forces of re-arresting the insurgents on Sunday. The insurgents were part of a key prisoner exchange to initiate peace talks, and they have been released.

They said the National Directorate of Security (NDS) had detained an unspecified number of insurgents released under the exchange programme, warning Kabul would “bear responsibility for the consequences”.

“They are incessantly raided, detained and put behind the bar by NDS of the Kabul (administration),” Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter.

Javid Faisal, the spokesman for Afghanistan s National Security Council, said the claim was “incorrect”.

“It s their way of sabotaging the peace efforts and the peace talks that should start,” he told AFP.

The exchange of prisoners has been a major stumbling block that prompted Kabul and the Taliban to begin peace talks.

According to the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, the Afghan government should release 5,000 rebel prisoners, while the Taliban release 1,000 government prisoners.

Kabul has released most of the 5,000 soldiers, but the NDS stated that some Taliban prisoners are returning to the battlefield.

The peace talks were supposed to start on March 10, but due to the political chaos in Kabul and the stagnant exchange of prisoners, the deadline passed.

In the months that followed, violence in various parts of Afghanistan soared, and the Taliban attacked security forces almost daily.

Faisal said on Saturday that the Taliban had killed 46 civilians in more than 400 “terrorism activities” in the past week.

“Peace requires commitment and will, which aren t visible in the actions of the Taliban,” he said on Twitter.

Also Saturday, the US State Department said Zalmay Khalilzad, its special envoy who has been leading negotiations with the Taliban, will return to the region to “press for resolution of the remaining issues ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations”.

“Although significant progress has been made on prisoner exchanges, the issue requires additional effort to fully resolve,” the department said in a statement.

Khalilzad will visit Doha, where the Taliban have political offices, as well as Kabul and Islamabad, and then travel to Europe to brief NATO.

Pakistan’s support for any peaceful push is key because the country has long been accused of supporting the Taliban-Islamabad denies this claim.

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