KABUL: The government of Afghanistan has rejected a new demand offered by the Taliban over the release of their extra 7,000 comrades held in government custody, with the National Security Council saying on Tuesday that the release would not help the ongoing peace process as 5,500 insurgents’ freedom did not help it.
“The prisoner release is not an Afghan demand. When the government released Taliban prisoners, people criticized because Taliban did not remain adherent to their commitments over reduction of violence and a cease fire. Therefore, the release of more Taliban prisoners will not be useful for the peace process,” the NSC Spokesman Rahmatullah Andar said.
The release of Taliban prisoners was demanded by the US charge d affairs in Kabul Ross Wilson.
Taliban officials in Qatar called for the release of their 7,000 prisoners in a meeting with the US envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday in Doha. No details were released about the meeting.
Earlier, President Ghani was forced to release 5,500 Taliban prisoners as it was the main point of the insurgents’ peace deal with the United States signed in February and a Loya Jirga asked Ghani to release them to pave the ground for peace.
Taliban in return had vowed to reduce violence against Afghan forces and civilians. Bu the promise was not fulfilled and people in Kabul and other big cities witnessed almost unprecedented attacks in the summer and autumn, especially since the intra-Afghan negotiations began in September.
Taliban were blamed by international community with the United States, European Union, Australia, Canada and NATO calling on the insurgent group to stay committed in their obligation and reduce violence.