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Govt. to keep hundreds of Taliban prisoners amid pressures to release

AT News

KABUL: The government is not intended to release some 600 imprisoned insurgents, while it has released most of the 5,000 prisoners Taliban had demanded early this year.

“The process of prisoner release is going on, but there are a number of them who will not be released because they are responsible for big crimes,” Javid Faisal, Spokesman of the National Security Council said Monday.

He mentioned theft, murder, corruption and smuggling as the crimes of 600 people decided to remain in prisons.

Faisal called on Taliban to offer a new list of their comrades held in government custody to be released, saying the militants should not insist on the 600 inmates.

President Ghani was called to release 5,000 of Taliban prisoners according to the February peace deal signed between the insurgents and the United States. The Taliban had vowed to release 1,000 government forces the group is holding.

The long-awaited intra-Afghan talks is believed to have depended on the prisoner swap.

The government, according to Faisal, has released 4,019 imprisoned Taliban.

Earlier, President Ghani had said in a televised interview that he would finalize the scheme for prisoner release, but emphasized that he would not release more Taliban inmates unless and until the militants did not release government forces.

“The prisoner release is an exchange. Taliban should release government prisoners because the one-sided release is impossible,” Ghani said.

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