Afghan govt to set free 100 Taliban fighters as part of swap agreement 1

Afghan govt to set free 100 Taliban fighters as part of swap agreement

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Kabul: Afghan officials said on Wednesday that, according to the peace agreement, the government will release 100 Taliban prisoners as part of an agreement to exchange prisoners.

A day ago, the rebels said they were going out of the talks with Kabul.

Since last week, the two enemies have been negotiating in Kabul in an attempt to complete the prisoner exchange that should have occurred on March 10, and paved the way for “inside Afghanistan” peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

But the exchange work has been plagued by problems. Kabul claimed that the Taliban wanted to release 15 “senior commanders”, while the rebels accused the Afghan authorities of wasting time unnecessarily.

“One hundred Taliban prisoners will be released today,” said Javid Faisal, spokesman for Afghanistan´s Office of the National Security Council.

“We are doing our part in the agreement. The peace process should move forward.”

Faisal said the 15 commanders were not among those being released, and that additional prisoners would be freed “depending on what the Taliban do”.

The insurgents did not immediately comment.

The United States signed an agreement with the Taliban in late February, demanding that the Afghan government (not a signatory to the agreement) release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and demand that the rebels release 1,000 pro-government captives in return.

According to the agreement, Washington promised to withdraw US and foreign troops from Afghanistan by July next year, provided the Taliban began talks with Kabul and complied with other guarantees.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen accused President Ashraf Ghani’s government of “deliberately postponing the release and violating the agreement” on Tuesday.

He said that the Taliban will withdraw negotiators from the “unsuccessful” discussions with the Afghan government on the issue of prisoner exchange.

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