By: Lailuma Noori
Afghanistan Presidential Office says a separate negotiating agenda is determined to be made for releasing Taliban prisoners.
“The aim of the delegation that has currently traveled to Qatar is to get in touch with Taliban. Taliban prisoners won’t be released before the deal is signed between the Taliban and US, but a separate agenda of negation will be prepared to discuss the issue,” said Sediq Sediqi, a spokesperson to Afghanistan Presidential Office.
Sediqi rejected that Afghanistan government delegation would discuss on the issue of releasing Taliban prisoners in Qatar.
Previously, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson of the political office of Taliban in Qatar had told media that after signing the peace deal with the US side, intra-Afghan dialogue would start, but saying that 6,000 prisoners would be released from both sides to build trust. In this deal, Taliban will release 1,000 ANDSF personnel from their detainee centers, while Afghan government will release 5,000 Taliban fighters from its prisons.
Will releasing of Taliban’s 5,000 fighters a big gift of Qatar’s talks for the Taliban group?
US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators has two demands from each other before they sign the peace agreement:
Zalmay Khalilzad wants reduction of violence and ceasefire in Afghanistan, while Taliban want their 5,000 fighters to be released from prisons of Afghanistan government.
Nobody has access to exact number of Taliban prisoners imprisoned in prisons of Afghanistan government and US in the country, but 5,000 Taliban prisoners who will be released is a big and concerning figure.
As perception for releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners and later violation of the deal by the Taliban seems horrible, but releasing this big number of Taliban fighters can be rational and acceptable when a big number of ADNSF personnel imprisoned by Taliban is also released.
Reduction in violence and short-term ceasefire in exchange of releasing 5,000 Taliban fighters is considered as minor concession, while in dealing with the Taliban group, many issues such as demand of the people, permanent ceasefire, assurance of the republic system, protection of human rights and women rights should be considered and discussed. Nevertheless, if meaning of dealing of concessions between the US and Taliban does not inflict our country and people’s interests towards ending the continued war, it means that war in our country will never end even with this deal between the US and Taliban in Qatar.
On the other hand, Taliban is only committed to reduction in violence rather than ceasefire; therefore, it seems that the group wants to send its released prisoners to battlefields as soon as possible, but principally the government of Afghanistan is obliged to inflict the demand and will of the people particularly in each negotiation on peace and future of Afghanistan. Afghanistan government should not be sidelined although the ongoing peace talks are between US and Taliban, but decisions that have been taken and concessions exchanged to each other are completely related to issues of war and peace in our country and effective for the coming stage which is the start of intra-Afghan dialogue.