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Afghan Ulema call on Taliban to shun violence

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KABUL: After President Ashraf Ghani signed a decree to release the last 400 Taliban prisoners, the council of Ulema in western Afghanistan, called on the Taliban to reduce violence as there was no reason for war in Afghanistan any more.

Head of the Council, Mowllawie Khudad Saleh in a gathering of religious clerics in Herat, urged the people of Afghanistan to become unified for reduction in violence and there should be a halt in the war that has been continuing for 40 years.

Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, head of Herat Hajj and religious affairs said, “The militants should lay down their weapons and come forward with logics and discussions.”

This is as the High Council for National Reconciliation said that ceasefire would be the prior and initial issue in direct talks with the Taliban representatives.

A religious cleric, Noor Mohammad Ahrari demanded the Taliban prisoner not to rejoin the insurgency to fight with the Afghan security forces.

“It is better that related sides should take advantage of the current chance for peace,” another clerics, Abdughafar Jami said.

The US and Taliban signed a peace deal on February 29th that also laid out the drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan, including the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security forces.

But the release of the 400 militants, whom the government said were charged with major crimes, postponed the prisoner swap process – an issue that the Taliban said would make them engage into direct negotiations with the government.

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