The National Security Council says it has decided to release a hundred Taliban prisoners on the president’s verdict and it should be followed by the guarantees from the Taliban not to return to battlefields. Earlier, the Taliban had said that there would be no guarantee as such.
The government of Afghanistan, the United States of America, Qatar, the Red Crescent, and the Taliban, have come to an agreement to start the prisoner releases by March 31.
According to the NSC, the decision has been made in a VTC meeting where all aspects – reduction in violence, face to face talks, permanent ceasefire and paving the ground for prisoner releases – were discussed.
The NSC emphasizes that the government has been trying to receive guarantees from the Taliban making sure that they do not return to the battlefields.
Jawid Faisal, the NSC spokesperson, says, “The Taliban should guarantee that once the prisoners released should not get back to war. A hundred prisoners will be released on March 31.”
The Taliban political spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has tweeted that only the prisoner releases were discussed over the VTC meeting and that the rest will be talked through in the intra-Afghan negotiation.
Sources close to the Taliban indicate that a 37-member Taliban negotiating team will probably visit Kabul to take on the talks about the prisoner release and the rest of the negotiations.
Jalaluddin Shinwari, former Taliban chief justice, says, “Yesterday the second meet took place. They spoke for four hours. The Taliban’s negotiating team comprised of 37 people will hopefully visit Kabul to talk about other important matters as well. The process of prisoner releases will start by March 31. Let’s see when all 5000 prisoners will be released.”
The releases of the Taliban prisoners have been causing concerns around. The human rights commission, civil society and a number of political figures express their concerns asking the government to be careful with its steps and to not let justice down.
The decision of the Taliban releases by March 31 has been acknowledged by the American Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad too.