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Editorial: Prisoner swap resumption: A welcome news

In a major development in the path to peace, the Afghan government has notified of recommencing the prisoner swap between the warring sides. The troubled prisoner release process has been facing problems for a while now; however, the High National Reconciliation Council (HNRC) says all the hurdles to the launch of intra-Afghan talks have been removed and that they will begin very soon in Doha, Qatar. The hiatus in the process has been brought to an end as there are reports that the Afghan government has released up to 280 Taliban prisoners from among the 400 hard-core militants and that the remaining 120 would be released very soon. The deadlock comes to an end as the Taliban have also released four Afghan commandos and are expected to free more shortly. It’s indeed a piece of good and welcome news for the Afghan nation, who has so far been the primary victims of the prolonged peace process and increased violence by the warring sides. Although the government has remained tight-lipped on how many of the remaining 320 hard-core Taliban inmates have been freed and when exactly will the process be completed, well-placed sources confirm that more than 200 are released. The government negotiators are also expected to leave for Doha very soon (some saying they are going to travel on Thursday). At this juncture, the Afghan government should work on resolving issues within and with some political figures and parties. The more unanimity achieved, the greater the effectiveness of intra-Afghan talks. Recently, there have been some objections raised regarding the composition of HCNR from different quarters. The Afghan government should address those at the earliest so it facilitates its negotiators to sit across the Taliban interlocutors with a full hand and complete consensus from Afghanistan. The success of intra-Afghan talks in terms of obtaining and securing the goals expected of them lies in the fact that to what extent are the Afghan political, social and ordinary classes satisfied and contented with the negotiating team and councilmen representing them? Meanwhile, now that seemingly all obstacles are removed, the warring sides should make strides to create a conducive environment for speeding up the process, something that would result in a respite for the war-ravaged Afghans from violence.

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