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Afghan government releases 900 Taliban prisoners

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2020)

The Afghan government has released another 900 Taliban prisoners from jails on Tuesday, the government confirmed.

The Office of the National Security Council said that the step was taken “to advance the cause of peace, including the continuation of the bilateral ceasefire and the immediate start of direct negotiations.”

Ariana News’ correspondent Shahpoor Farahmand reported from Parwan province that 581 inmates were released from Bagram jail while the rest were released from Kabul and other provinces.

According to him, the released prisoners have taken an oath never to return to the battlefield.

Many released inmates have told that they would follow their leader’s directions while some others said they would continue fighting until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

Mohammadullah, a prisoner who spent 16 years of his life in jail, says that he would pick up weapons again unless the American forces withdraw Afghanistan.

“I will go for my previous job and continue Jihad (Holy war),” Mohammadullah added.

The Afghan government released a batch of 100 Taliban prisoners on Monday from Parwan jail, so far, 2000 Taliban inmates have been released, while the Taliban has released 200 government inmates only.

Meanwhile, the Taliban militant group has welcome the government’s move and call it as a gesture of goodwill.

“Release of 2000 prisoners by the other side is a good step. The stipulation in the Doha Agreement for the release of 5000 prisoners was to create a conducive atmosphere of confidence. This process should be completed in order to remove hurdles in the way of commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations and to pave the way for further progress which is to follow,” the group’s political spokesman, Suhail Shaheen said in a tweet on Tuesday.

He added that the Taliban is committed to the “release of prisoners on its own part.”

It comes as the two sides declared a 3-day ceasefire during the Eid Ul-Fitr.

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Covid-19 in Afghanistan; 22 died, 194 others infected

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

According to the Ministry of Public Health and in the past 24 hours, 22 patients died of the pandemic and 194 others tested positive.

According to the MoPH statistics, 15 cases in Kabul, 57 cases in Herat, 11 cases in Balkh, 23 cases in Takhar, 32 cases in Daikundi, 12 cases in Badghis, five cases in Parwan, five cases in Badakhshan, two cases in Kunar, 11 cases in Ghazni, six cases in Kandahar, six cases in Maidan Wardak, two cases in Khost, one case in Nangarhar, one case in Laghman, and three cases in Panjshir were registered.

Taking these numbers into account, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Afghanistan came to 33,384.

Meanwhile, 22 patients passed out of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours in the country bringing the total number of Covid-19 fatalities to 920.

MoPH added that 495 patients recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours bringing the total number of recoveries to 20,151.

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Ghani urges Taliban to show flexibility, cut attacks

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani urged the Taliban to show flexibility and cease attacks in full compliance with declaring a ceasefire. 

Addressing a consultative meeting to strengthening consensus for peace, Ghani said that the Taliban are not committed to bringing peace in the country as they refuse to reduce their attacks.

The meeting was held on Monday in Kabul and representatives from 19 countries had attended the summit to establish a regional and international consensus on the Afghan peace process.

“We hope that Pakistan’s sincere cooperation in the start of intra-Afghan talks will be favorable, and we will continue to monitor this through diplomatic sources and ensure its results,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Gran Hiwad.

Pakistan’s foreign minister has stressed the need to remove obstacles to peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban and called on the international community to monitor the process.

On the other hand, peace talks between Afghans are said to be deadlocked due to the Taliban’s sabotage according to the government. But can holding such meetings pave the way for challenging dialogue between Afghans?

Several other meetings are scheduled to be held with the participation of representatives from several countries, including the United States and Russia, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations, as well as representatives from Pakistan, India, Iran, China, Egypt, and Qatar.

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Freed Taliban prisoners could return to battlefield: AIHRC

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

Concerned about the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says that there is no guarantee that these fighters would not return to the battlefield.

Thousands of Taliban prisoners, when released, put their finger on a document and sign it so that they would not return to the battlefield again. However, this guarantee is not enough for the Afghan Human Rights Commission. The head of the commission considers the guarantees obtained from these prisoners to be very weak.

“There is no guarantee that these prisoners will not return to the battlefield,” said Shahzad Akbar, head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

But the distance from prison to the battlefield is seen to have been short for Taliban detainees.

 According to security officials, Qari Rohullah, one of the released Taliban prisoners who had returned to war after his release from prison, was wounded in a clash with security forces on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway, with more than a dozen of his subordinates being killed.

“Qari Rohullah was the one who was recently released from our prison,” said Ghulam Haidar Rahmanzai, Laghman’s national security chief.

But a Taliban spokesman called the reports of the return of those released on the battlefield baseless and an excuse for the release of the remaining prisoners of the group.

“This is the reason why the security forces do not believe in the release of the Taliban prisoners,” said Manzour Stanekzai, Laghman’s security commander.

The release of five thousand Taliban prisoners is one of the main conditions for the start of negotiations between the Afghans. Human rights organizations have called the release of these Taliban fighters without strong guarantees, dangerous. But the Taliban have repeatedly insisted on their commitment to the peace deal with the United States.

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