Source: Dubai – Arabic.net
A Taliban spokesman said today, Sunday, that the movement will release 20 prisoners from the Afghan government in the first step of its kind since the start of the peace process.
“Today … 20 prisoners from the Kabul administration will be released from the Emirate of Afghanistan and handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kandahar,” the spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, wrote on Twitter.
Since Wednesday, the Afghan government released 300 Taliban prisoners as part of a prisoner exchange following an agreement in February between the United States and the Taliban, which provided the best opportunity ever to end the 18-year-old US military presence in Afghanistan.
This comes after two spokespersons for the American forces in Afghanistan and the Taliban announced that the commander of the forces met the Taliban leadership in Doha to discuss the need to reduce violence in the war-torn country, while continuing clashes threaten to hamper the fragile peace process.
The meeting between the Taliban leaders and General Scott Miller, commander of US forces and the resolute non-combat mission led by NATO in Afghanistan, was held on Friday evening.
This came as the rebel movement accused US forces of breaching an agreement signed between the two sides in February.
A spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan told Reuters, “General Miller met the Taliban leadership last night as part of the military channel that was established under the agreement.” “The meeting was about the need to reduce violence,” he added.
While a spokesman for the Taliban political office in Doha said on Twitter that the meeting discussed the implementation of the agreement.
It is noteworthy that the Afghan government had released 200 Taliban prisoners on Wednesday and Thursday, but the rebel group withdrew from the exchange process, saying that its demands on who would be released first had not been met.