Taliban prisoners release cannot be a prerequisite for talks- Says- President Ashraf Ghani

An estimated 10,000 Taliban prisoners are being held in Afghan jails

1 March, 2020

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that releasing up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners cannot be considered a pre-condition of peace talks.

President Ashraf made his comments at a press conference on Sunday.

There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 prisoners. This is the right and the self-will of the people of Afghanistan. It could be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, but cannot be a prerequisite for talks.

The Afghan leader confirmed that the US is facilitating the prisoners’ release but it is ultimately up to Kabul to “decide on it.”

The US-Taliban deal says that Washington will work with all sides on a prisoner swap as a confidence-building step. According to the plan, the US with the Afghan government and the Taliban would free up to 5,000 and 1,000 people respectively by March 10, which is set as the first day of peace talks between the Taliban and Kabul.

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