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‘Extend truce to stop bloodshed’

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KABUL: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday has called for extension of the three-day ceasefire observed during Eid al-Fitr festival so that killing of civilians is avoided and all the attention is focused on the peace process.

Shaharzad Akbar, head of AIHRC, wrote on her Twitter handle: “Extend the ceasefire. Save lives. End the violence so that we can all focus on making services available to the most vulnerable across the country, on expanding access to human rights, so that we have space to breathe.”

Moreover, Shukrullah Mashkoor, spokesman for AIHRC, on Monday voiced concern over the release of the Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government in exchange for the 3-day ceasefire.

“We welcome any step that is effective for peace but the government must share all the relevant information regarding the prisoner release with the people and the commission.”

This comes as on March 11, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole and the Taliban agreed to release 1,000 soldiers but the exchange of prisoners was repeatedly delayed. 

As of May 10, some 1,000 Taliban fighters and 200 Afghan government soldiers had been freed by the two sides, but the exchange process had been suspended over some disputes. 

The exchange of prisoners is part of the peace deal inked between the Taliban and the US in Qatar in February, to which the Afghan government was not a signatory.

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