Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ordered the release of an additional 500 Taliban prisoners to show goodwill following the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire on Eid ul-Adha.
It may be recalled that the Taliban had declared a three-day ceasefire on Eid-ul-Adha and in response, the Afghan government had ordered a ceasefire to the security forces.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said the militants will be released during the Eid al-Adha holiday, according to reports.
The process of releasing the prisoners would start from Friday.
Ashraf Ghani said that the promise of 5,000 Taliban prisoners by the government would be fulfilled which was agreed in the agreement between the Taliban and the United States.
In his Eid ul-Adha speech, he said, “The Taliban have declared a three-day ceasefire, so an additional 500 Taliban prisoners are being released as part of a goodwill gesture.”
It also aims to accelerate the Afghan peace process, he said.
It should be noted that the release of 500 prisoners by the Afghan government is different from the list of 5,000 prisoners included in the agreement between the Taliban and the United States.
It should be noted that the Kabul authorities have already released 4,600 prisoners but they are hesitant about releasing 400 prisoners as the authorities consider the remaining 400 prisoners to be dangerous.
“I do not have the right to decide on the release of 400 Taliban prisoners accused of serious crimes,” Ghani said.
He added that a gathering of Afghan elders would decide their fate.
The Taliban, meanwhile, did not immediately comment on the release of the 400 militants.
The Taliban claimed yesterday that they had completed the release of all 1,000 Afghan prisoners.
US-Taliban peace deal
It should be noted that a peace agreement was signed between the United States and the Taliban on February 29 this year in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in which it was agreed that the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Taliban prisoners.
The prisoner exchange was due to be completed before March 10 and negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government were to begin, but the process was slow due to a number of issues.
However, the recent wave of violence in Afghanistan has further complicated the issue, with some of the attacks, including the May 12 attack on a maternity hospital attributed to ISIS.
After Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered the resumption of offensive operations against the Taliban, the Taliban said in response to the Afghan government’s announcement that they were fully prepared to respond to attacks by Afghan forces.
The Taliban had said that from now on, the responsibility for further tensions would fall on the shoulders of the Kabul administration.
Earlier on May 18, the Taliban had reiterated their demand for implementation of the Doha Agreement. Sohail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, said that the solution to the Afghan problem was in the implementation of the Doha Agreement.