KABUL: The government says it has freed 317 Taliban prisoners on the days of Eid ul Adha, the National Security Council said Friday, while the insurgent group said they had freed 1,005 government prisoners.
“Under the president’s instructions, 317 Taliban prisoners were released on the two days of Eid. More of them will be released too, but 400 dangers inmates will be held since the government is not authorized legally to release them,” Intezar Khaddem, from the Council said.
President Ashraf Ghani vowed on the first day of Eid to release 500 more Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture, but emphasized that a Consultative Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) would decide on the fate of 400 “dangerous Taliban prisoners”.
The government was to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners under a February peace deal between Taliban and the United States. Taliban had pledged to release 1,000 government prisoners.
Suhail Shahin, spokesman of Taliban’s political office based in Qatar, welcomed the recent release of their fighters as an “important step”, but urged that the 400 insurgents should also be released soon.
The militant group announced a three-day cease fire (July 31 to August 03) for the Eid fest, a step warmly welcomed by the government as well as internationally.
“Efforts are made to establish a durable cease fire in the country and to provide a good space for direct talks between Afghans. The government and people of Afghanistan want the Taliban to stop war and violence,” said Najia Anwari, spokeswoman of the state ministry for peace.
A few cases of violence were reported during the three days of Eid across the country.