Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners

Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners

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Kabul: The Afghan authorities planned to release more than 900 Taliban prisoners on Tuesday due to the rare and cease-fire of the rebels.

Officials said the fighting suspension took effect on Sunday to commemorate the Eid holiday.

The government earlier responded to the Taliban ’s ceasefire proposal, announcing plans to release up to 2,000 rebels.

The government said they released 100 people on Monday and will release another 900 on Tuesday, the largest Taliban prisoner released to date.

National Security Council spokesperson Javid Faisal told AFP: “Today, it was decided to release 900.”

But he added that the exact numbers may vary according to legal procedures.

The ceasefire is only the second ceasefire in a 19-year-old conflict. It gives people hope to extend the ceasefire. This may pave the way for the long-awaited peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

President Ashraf Ghani said his government is ready to start negotiations, which is seen as the key to ending the war in this poor country.

On Tuesday, officials said that the ceasefire is the first ceasefire agreement initiated by the Taliban and has basically been followed.

The only other pause in the violence that is comparable is Eid al-Fitr in 2018, an olive branch provided by Ghani.

The Taliban signed an agreement with Washington in February to escalate violence in Afghanistan after withdrawing all US troops by next year.

The agreement also stipulates that the Afghan government will first release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and the militants will release about 1,000 national security personnel.

Prior to its release this week, Kabul had released about 1,000 Taliban prisoners, while the rebels had released about 300 Afghan security forces.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the ceasefire and said that the released Taliban militants should not return to the battlefield.

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