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MPs Describe Taliban Prisoner Swap Act of Treason

(Last Updated On: November 14, 2019)

Afghan lawmakers on Wednesday described the release of Taliban’s top prisoners by President Ashraf Ghani as a national treason.

Nilofar Ibrahimi, a member of parliament from Badakhshan province, said it was “a shameful deal” for the releasing of the killers of Afghan people.

“If peace is an excuse, the releasing of 850 prisoners was enough. It is a concession equal to a national treason,” MP Ibrahimi said.

Some lawmakers criticized the judicial system of Afghanistan, adding that the decision will demotivate Afghan security forces.

“Afghanistan’s Attorney General must be summoned to the parliament to clarify the releasing of three members of Taliban’s leadership,” said Hamayoun Shahidzada, a lawmaker from western Farah province.

“If these three prisoners had been released in return for one month ceasefire, the security forces would have kept their high spirit. This shows a lack of independence in the judicial system,” said Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, a parliamentarian from northern Badakhshan province.

This comes a day after President Ghani, in a televised press conference, confirmed that Anas Haqqani, Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, three top Haqqani Network commanders, have been “conditionally released” in exchange for the release of two foreign university professors who were kidnapped by the Haqqani Network in 2016.

Ghani added that the negotiation was made in close cooperation with the U.S. in order to pave the way for face-to-face negotiations with the Taliban.

In an interview with Ariana News, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass, strongly welcomed Ghani’s decision of releasing key Taliban prisoners.

Bass said Washington hopes the move results in reduction of violence and beginning of peace talks to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan which has continued for too many years.

But, a car bomb in Kabul claimed several lives including children early on Wednesday. At least four foreign national from a security company were also wounded in the vehicle-borne IED attack.

Reacting to the Kabul car bombing, the European Union Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Roland Kobia wrote on Twitter: “I would have thought that an important gesture such as the release of high profile Taliban prisoners would be honoured and saluted by something like a ceasefire rather than a car bomb, killing civilians and children. Symbols should come from both sides”.

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