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Kabul temporarily halts prisoner release

AT News

KABUL: The government has not released any Taliban prisoners in the past two days, with the National Security Council saying they stopped the release process because Taliban did not free any government employees they have in custody.

The government has so far freed more than 300 Taliban prisoners and the militants are said to have freed 20 government servants.

Taliban demand the release of their 5,000 comrades held by the government as a precondition to start peace negotiations with Ghani administration.

The militants have also vowed to release 1,000 government servants. The 20 people released by Taliban this week in the southern province of Kandahar, are not government troops or other employees, according to provincial officials who said the freed people were innocent civilians held in Taliban custody.
The prisoner swap process was stopped as the US Envoy for Afghan Peace, Zalmya Khalilzad met Taliban officials in Qatar, where they discussed implementation of the peace deal they signed on February 29, speeding up the prisoner exchange and starting of the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The European Union has called prisoner exchange necessary for a trust building.

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