They reportedly discussed the release of Taliban prisoners
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a videoconference with Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund on Monday, during which he discussed the state of the peace process in Afghanistan, Taliban spokesman in Doha Suheil Shahin said on Twitter..
According to him, during the talks the issue of release of the Taliban prisoners was discussed. Taliban insists Afghan government release them before negotiations begin.
The State Department has yet to comment on this..
As Shahin wrote, the parties “stressed that the release of the remaining prisoners is essential for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations”.
The release of Taliban prisoners has become a serious obstacle to the organization of negotiations, which were supposed to begin by March 10.
According to the February 29 agreement between the United States and the Taliban on the withdrawal of American troops, Kabul was supposed to free up to 5,000 Taliban in exchange for 1,000 government soldiers. Taliban freed about 1,000 people, and the Afghan government about 4,600.
However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani refuses to release the remaining 400 from the Taliban’s list, claiming they are complicit in serious crimes, including the 2017 German embassy bombing and other bloody attacks. Instead, Ghani plans to free 500 prisoners not on the list and hold a council of elders to discuss the release of the remaining suspects on the list.. Council is expected to take place later this month.
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