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Kabul hopes prisoner exchange prompts ceasefire

AT News

KABUL: The government hopes the prisoner exchange encourages Taliban to agree on the reduction in violence and a lasting cease fire.

The government has so far released some 360 Taliban prisoners in a move to encourage militants for face to face negotiations. The fighters’ release is based on the US-Taliban peace deal signed late February in which the insurgents demanded their 5,000 comrades being held by the government be freed.

The militants vowed to release 1,000 government employees including soldiers and police they have in custody.

Dawa Khan Minapal, a spokesman for President Ghani, said Saturday that they had taken important steps in the release of Taliban prisoners.

“The government has so far taken important steps for peace and the release of Taliban prisoners. The people of Afghanistan hope these steps bring changes. The changes are reduction in violence and durable cease fire,” Minapal said.

Taliban who have stopped attacking US troops, have not yet accepted demands for a cease fire with the government of President Ghani. Their fighters have targeted security forces in several provinces since the US deal was signed.

In the recent incident, the militants killed 15 government troops in the provinces of Uruzgan and Logar.

However, the Taliban said they freed a third group of security forces they held. Totally, the militants say that 60 government troops were released in the provinces of Kandahar and Laghman.

Azizullah Fazli, an official in the state ministry for peace calls the release of security forces as good news.

Javed Faisal, spokesman of the National Security Council said that 361 Taliban inmates had been released from Bagram detention center.

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