A week and a half after the agreement between the u.S. And the taliban, the afghan government has agreed to a prisoner exchange with the militant-islamist group.
President ashraf ghani signed a decree to this effect, as government spokesman sedik sedikki tweeted on wednesday night. According to the plan, 5000 imprisoned taliban are to be released in two phases.
The release of prisoners had been included as a precondition for intra-afghan peace talks between the government in kabul and the taliban in an agreement the u.S. Reached with the taliban on 29. February had signed.
This envisages a gradual withdrawal of all international troops from afghanistan. In return, the taliban are to hold peace talks with the afghan government after almost two decades of war. Up to 5000 taliban fighters were to be released by yesterday in exchange for 1000 extremist prisoners.
But the exchange has not yet taken place. President ghani had already said the day after the deal that the decision on a prisoner exchange was his government’s alone.
Two days after taking office, ghani deposed his government chief executive and election rival abdullah abdullah. Office of government secretary no longer exists in afghan government structure, ghani’s spokesman said. Abdullah then declared on his official facebook page that ghani was no longer president and his decrees were no longer valid.
Abdullah does not recognize the results of the september 2019 presidential election and had himself declared president on monday during ghani’s inauguration as well. Ghani and abdullah had already been at loggerheads over the 2014 presidential election. As a compromise, a unity government was formed months later with U.S. Mediation.
On tuesday, the UN security council supported the agreement between the USA and the taliban on ways to peace in afghanistan. The 15-member council, including germany, voted unanimously in new york for a resolution put forward by the u.S. That buries the "significant steps toward an end to the war and inter-afghan negotiations". In addition, the paper calls on the afghan government to actively advance the peace process.
According to the order of the afghan government published via twitter, 100 fighters are to be released from the military prison at bagram every day starting saturday, initially 1500. The latter had to pledge not to participate in the war again. After the start of the peace talks, the intention is to release a further 500 prisoners every two weeks if the taliban use noticeably less violence.
The taliban’s violence is still too crude, wrote the u.S. Special envoy for reconciliation in afghanistan, zalmay khalilzad, on twitter. "We expect the taliban to stick to their commitments to reduce violence so that the release of prisoners can be carried out smoothly and the peace process can be successful."
The taliban said they handed over a list to the U.S. And demanded the release of certain prisoners, as the spokesman for the taliban’s political office in doha, suhail shahin, tweeted tuesday. The intention is to make the handover in the desert or directly in prisons, he wrote further.
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