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Taliban’s rambling about prisoners faces Kabul backlash

AT News

KABUL: The government of Afghanistan rejects Taliban’s allegations over prisoner release, saying only six of 5,000 insurgents have not be freed. It says that Taliban should stop making excuses to postpone the peace negotiations.

5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the government should be released under the February peace deal made between the insurgents and the United States. The government earlier released 4,600 imprisoned insurgents, but refused to free 400 ones accused of being responsible for big crimes. Then it agreed to release them after a consultative Loya Jirga ordered for their release.

But Taliban say that the prisoner release process was not complete and the government still has 100 of their comrades.

Javid Faisal, Spokesman of the National Security Council, said Wednesday that “almost all Taliban prisoners have been released”, urging the militant group to begin face to face talks with the government delegation soon.

“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has done all preparedness for the direct talks with Taliban and efforts are going on to release the remaining six inmates. Now it is Taliban’s turn to assure the people of Afghanistan over the release of government forces it holds,” said Najia Anwari, spokeswoman for the state ministry for peace.

France and Australia object the release of six imprisoned insurgents, claiming they have hands in killing their soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

Amrullah Saleh, President Ghani’s deputy, says the six prisoners would be held in a house arrest in Qatar.

Mohammad Neem Wardak, Taliban’s political spokesman said they delayed the peace talks because the process of their prisoner release was not finalized.

Meanwhile, the US envoy for Afghanistan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad met chief of Taliban’s political office Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar, where the latter’s office is located.

The meeting discussed prisoner release and the urgent intra-Afghan talks, according to Wardak.

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