Afghan council approves release of Taliban prisoners to set up peace talks

(Pic courtesy: TOLO news)

New Delhi (NVI): Loya Jirga, the Afghan council called for deciding the fate of 400 Taliban prisoners today approved their release with certain conditions after intense talks to bring about a ceasefire and put an end to the years-long war.

The council has issued a resolution, which has 25 articles, to expedite the process of initiating intra-Afghan talks. Apart from President Ashraf Ghani, former President Hamid Karzai was also present at the negotiating table, reports TOLO news.

All the members of Loya Jirga agreed to bring peace and stability in the country by the release of remaining Taliban prisoners on certain conditions.

For instance, the resolution stated that if foreign fighters are among the 400 Taliban prisoners “they must be handed over to their countries with valid guarantee.”

It also said that the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners must come with the assurance that the direct talks between the government and the Taliban will start “without any excuses”, as per the Afghan news website.

The resolution also called for an immediate and long-lasting ceasefire and called on the International Community and the United States to implement their commitment regarding this.

Apart from that, the people and the government of Afghanistan must be assured that the released Taliban prisoners “will not return to war and their activity will be monitored,” as per the resolution, reports TOLO news.

The resolution also urged the international community to cease direct and indirect intervention in Afghanistan’s affairs and to cease their support for terrorist groups.

They urged the Taliban and Afghan government to end the violence and conflict in the country and to solve the rifts through negotiations.

Apart from that, the resolution also pointed out that women, as half of the body of society must have a legal and political status and play a constructive role and participation in all stages of the process.

As per the Afghan government data, of the 400 prisoners in question, 156 of them have been sentenced to death, 105 of them are accused of murder, 34 of them are accused of kidnapping that led to murder, 51 of them are accused of drug smuggling, 44 of them are on the blacklist of the Afghan government and its allies, 6 of them are accused of other crimes, 4 are unknown, reports TOLO news.

The list of 5,000 prisoners was given to the Afghan government by the Taliban to be released ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations, which are now expected to be held in Doha.

So far, the government has released 4,600 of the prisoners on the Taliban list, and an additional 500 who were not on the Taliban list. These last 500 were freed during Eid in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire, reports the Afghan news website.

-ARK