Taliban prisoner release re-opens wounds for victims' families

Taliban prisoner release re-opens wounds for victims’ families

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Kabul: The decision to release hundreds of Taliban’s most dangerous prisoners has left painful memories of relatives who lost their lives in the war in Afghanistan. Many people question whether this move will help bring peace.

It is expected that about 400 prisoners will be released in the next few days, after which the Taliban will sit down and conduct direct peace talks with the Afghan government.

President Ashraf Ghani stated that the US-backed release has drawn condemnation from Afghanistan and abroad. This is a necessary development that highlights the “cost” of peacemaking.

But for some victim families, this is an unattainable step.

It “felt like being stabbed in the heart with a knife”, said Juma Khan, 77, as he recalled watching Afghan leaders gather to debate and eventually approve the release.

Khan s son, Aziz Ahmad Naween, an IT specialist, was killed in a massive truck bombing near the German embassy in May 2017 while heading to work. He was 24.

“We all want peace, but they never asked for our opinion, the victims,” Khan said.

“That was the worst day of my life. I fell unconscious on seeing the body of my young son in a coffin,” he told AFP at his home in Kabul.

“I don t believe that the decision to release them will lead to any peace in this country any time soon.”

According to an agreement reached between the United States and the insurgents in February, the Afghan government has released about 5,000 Taliban prisoners through a substantial swap agreement.

While the former inmates have pledged not to pick up arms, Ghani on Thursday acknowledged some of the 400 currently being released likely “pose a danger both to us and to (America) and to the world”.

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