Peace Talks: Afghan President orders release of 500 Taliban prisoners

Srinagar, July 31: President Ashraf Ghani, addressing the nation on Eid on Friday, ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners in response to the group’s three-day ceasefire announcement, and said he hoped the truce will extend, Tolo news reported.  

Ghani said the 500 prisoners are not part of the list given to the Afghan government by the Taliban and that these inmates will be released within the next four days, the report said.

According to Ghani, the Afghan government has so far released 4,600 Taliban prisoners.

Ghani said he does not have the right to decide on the release of those 400 Taliban prisoners on the list who are accused of serious crimes, according to the Tolo news report

Therefore, Ghani said, he will call a Loya Jirga, a grand assembly of Afghan elders, to decide on the release of the 400 Taliban prisoners, the report added

He said that COVID-19 is still a threat, therefore, people should observe health advice during Eid.

The president vowed to fight the endemic corruption in public offices and boost security in the country.

This comes as the Taliban also completed the release of 1,000 prisoners called for in the peace agreement signed in Doha.

A spokesman of the group, Suhail Shaheen, said on Twitter that they freed 82 prisoners on Thursday, bringing the total released by the Taliban to 1,005.

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