By: Lailuma Noori
KABUL: Afghanistan National Security Council has declared that 850 other Taliban prisoners will be soon released.
“Based on the decree of the president, 98 inmates were released from the Pul-e-Charkhi jail. So far 748 Taliban have been released, another 850 will also be released,” said Javid Faisal, a spokesman for Afghanistan National Security Council.
Based on the peace agreement signed by US and Taliban, 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 prisoners of Afghanistan government security personnel were planned to be released within ten days from both sides, but Afghanistan government considers the process as complicated.
Meanwhile, sources close to the Taliban have said that if the Afghan government ensure the collective release of 5,000 inmates demanded by the Taliban, this will help to start the intra-Afghan talks in the near future.
Releasing of Taliban prisoners was a precondition for starting the intra-Afghan dialogue. The Taliban so far have released 112 Afghan government forces.
Previously, both sides had informed of gaps in connection with releasing prisoners. A number of Afghanistan government officials have disclosed that Taliban in first step asked for releasing their 15 commanders from Afghanistan prison, while Afghanistan government rejected the demand.
Reduction in violence has been demanded from the Taliban by UN, US and Afghanistan government, but Taliban has rejected the demand and continued violence and attacking on ANDSF in various parts of the country.
Meanwhile, US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet has asked the Taliban and Afghanistan government to accelerate the releasing process of prisoners and reduce violence in the country to pave the way for the intra-Afghan dialogue between Afghans.
“Both the Taliban and the government need to accelerate efforts to release prisoners and lower violence, which is the fastest means to intra-Afghan negotiations and a comprehensive permanent ceasefire,” Khalilzad tweeted.
Khalilzad in his separate tweet has called on both sides: “Both sides must also accelerate the release of prisoners. The war on COVID-19 makes it urgent and will also aid the peace process including getting intra-Afghan negotiations underway.”
As all demand for ceasefire, it is time that Taliban should show their intention and will for peace in the country. If the Taliban group wants to end the ongoing war through negotiations, they should at least declare ceasefire to show their good will for talks with Afghanistan government.
Without ceasefire, it is not possible to reach lasting peace in the country as ceasefire is considered as preface for ending the war and strengthen the ongoing peace process. It is also considered as a test for the respective side to show in action that they have an option for ending the war rather than war and violence. Moreover, ceasefire and starting the intra-Afghan dialogue is a serious need and should be implemented.