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Taliban ‘conditionally’ agree to negotiate with Kabul after Eid fest

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban have once again insisted on their previous instance of the prisoner release to start peace negotiations with Kabul administration.

Suhail Shahin, spokesman for the group’s political office in Qatar, said on Twitter on Friday that the insurgent group would release all government prisoners by the Eid Adha festivity (end of July), emphasizing that the government of Afghanistan should also free all the remaining of their prisoners according to the list the militants had offered.

The government says it has freed 4,400 Taliban prisoners, but refuses to release 600 of them accused of “big crimes”.

Shahin said that their leadership was prepared to hold talks with the government after the Eid.

Government officials say that some of Taliban fighters returned to battlefield soon after they were released despite swearing not to take arms.

The National Security Council called on the Taliban to prevent their fighters from going back to battlefield, stop violence and start direct talks soon.

Violence is expected to intensify since civilians were allegedly killed and injured in a government airstrike on a Taliban gathering in the western province of Herat this week.

The government officials say that a number of Taliban militants were killed in Wednesday’s strike in the Adraskan district, with ministry of defense refusing any allegations over civilian casualties.

Witnesses said that 12 civilians were killed and 20 more injured.

The militants claimed in a statement that civilians gathered to welcome an insurgent released from government detention, were the most victims of the aerial attack.

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