Afghan government releases five hundred Taliban prisoners

Having released 4,100 captured Taliban prisoners in recent months, the Afghan government will today add a further 500 towards the

Taliban releases 28 Afghan prisoners this summer

Photo: IANS

Having released 4,100 captured Taliban prisoners in recent months, the Afghan government will today add a further 500 towards the eventual goal of 5,000 exchanges. Prisoner exchanges are a prerequisite for the commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue, per the US-Taliban Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan.

The move is a response to the Taliban’s release of over 100 prisoners yesterday, which fulfilled its commitment of 1,000 total prisoners. Now, President Ashraf Ghani’s administration will convene a Grand Tribal Council to decide the fate of the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners, who stand accused of serious violations of the rights of Afghan civilians.

During a three day Eid al-Adha ceasefire, both sides are approaching talks to create a new government that incorporates the Taliban. However, the Taliban’s failure to significantly reduce its cooperation with al-Qaeda and its ongoing human rights abuses continue to damage the prospects for integration.

Expect the prisoner releases and three-day ceasefire to be honoured as both sides gravitate towards the cultivation of trust. As Ghani’s administration has pledged to defend the rights of Afghans, the upcoming council is unlikely to result in the release of the remaining 400 prisoners. In response, the Taliban may revise their prisoner request and continue to push for peace before November’s US presidential election, but could also press their advantageous military position by resuming attacks on Monday.

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