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Taliban say ANDSF prisoner release process will continue

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Taliban say the prisoner release process of the Afghan government inmates from militants’ jails will continue in future as a gesture of goodwill although the process has not been coordinated as a prisoner swap with the Afghan government.

The group’s political spokesman in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen says they are willing to continue the release of the prisoners of Afghan security forces in the country, after the group released 20 inmates of the government on Saturday in southern Kandahar province. Government have not yet confirmed the identity of the released persons.

Taliban took the step after Afghan government also begin the Taliban prisoner release process last week by its own, a move that the militants say was not coordinated with them.

“Now that Afghan government begin the prisoner release process by its own without to coordinate with us and as per a decree, not the as per the Doha agreement, then we also release these prisoners as a gesture of goodwill, which has not been coordinated with Kabul” Shaheen said, while ensuring the process will continue unilaterally.

Shaheen did not provide further details from which provinces the other prisoners will be released.

Afghan government which began the Taliban prisoner release process last Wednesday and so far released 361 inmates in four groups, emphasized these prisoners were selected from the the broad list of 5,000 persons, delivered by the Taliban Qatar office and discussed and approved by the Taliban technical team in Kabul.

A three member Taliban prisoner release delegation had been in Kabul from 31 March to 6 April, to coordinate the prisoner swap. But the group left Kabul on Wednesday after the two sides apparently failed to sort out the issue.

The Taliban delegation, which has been the first in 19 years to visit Kabul, later blamed government and the US of deliberately delaying their prisoner release process.

“Prisoner release is part of the peace process as per the (US-Taliban) signed agreement, until 5,000 prisoners are not released, the Intra-Afghan talks will also not begin” Shaheen said.

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