By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The US envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet welcomed the prisoner releases by both the Afghan government and Taliban, saying that both sides should “accelerate efforts” to meet targets of US-Taliban agreement because “potential for COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons poses a real threat.”
The Afghan government has so far released 361 Taliban prisoners from Bagram prison, says Javid Faisal, spokesman for the Office of the National Security Council. As per President Ghani’s decree, said Faisal, “releases will continue across other prisons to free a total of 1,500 as part of our efforts to advance peace and fight COVID19.”
On Sunday, the Taliban released 20 government prisoners on Sunday, the group tweeted. The Taliban sent photos of the released prisoners to media and said they were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today in Kandahar province.
The release was confirmed in a tweet by the head of the ICRC in Afghanistan, Juan-Pedro Schaerer: “Today we facilitated the release of 20 Afghan National Defense and Security Forces who were detained by the Taliban and transferred them to the Governor’s Office in Kandahar,”
Based on the US-Taliban peace agreement, 5,000 prisoners of the group should be released by the Afghan government, and 1,000 prisoners should be released by the Taliban, to pave the way for intra-Afghan negotiations.