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More violence feared as freed Taliban inmates may return to battlefield

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KABUL: The government and Taliban agreed to release each other’s prisoners after the insurgents signed a peace deal with the United States late February.

The government was asked to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the militants vowed to free 1,000 government servants mostly security forces kept in the insurgents’ custody.

But the release of Taliban prisoners has sparked fears among ordinary people who think they would go back to battlefield against government.

Abdul Raouf from eastern Kunar province was released from government detention in April along with a number of his comrades.

He said that was arrested based on false reports of having ties with the Taliban and was kept in government custody for three months.

He says that he would resume his ordinary life since he was not linked with Taliban in the past. “I am happy that I am free now and reunited with my family. Taliban did not come to me, but my friends came to visit me. I am at my home and will continue my job as a farmer,” said Raouf who was sentenced to three years in prison.

Saif Rahman, another man arrested in Kandahar, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and served four years.

“I am a high school graduate and speak English. Now, I want to continue my studies and ordinary life.”

He also said that Taliban did not contact him after he was released.

Suhail Shahin, spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said that their prisoners would start ordinary lives.

“Those prisoners of the Islamic Emirate who have been released, have gone to their houses. They served in jail for long time and they need calm with their families.”

The government has so far released 3,000 Taliban prisoners and the insurgents have freed 571 government inmates.

The government speeded up the release of Taliban prisoners after the militants agreed a three-day cease fire during the Eid days late May.

The release of prisoners was part of conditions Taliban offered to begin peace talks with President Ghani’s administration.

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