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No commitments to releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners – President Ghani

(Last Updated On: March 1, 2020)

In a press conference today, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani addressed that there wasn’t any commitment to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.

According to him, the matter could be a part of the Intra-Afghan negotiation, but not a pre-condition.

Ghani said, “There is no commitment to release 5000 Taliban detainees. We have clearly shared it with the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and other officials.”

It comes as yesterday an agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan was signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha city of Qatar. The agreement cites that 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released by 10th March – the first day of the intra-Afghan dialogue.

Moreover, the Afghan president emphasized that releasing the Taliban prisoners was not a responsibility of the US, it was the responsibility of the government of Afghanistan.

He added, “We do not agree with the US on releasing the Taliban prisoners. The US facilitates. Facilitating does not mean decision making.”

The Intra-Afghan dialogue has been scheduled to start on 10th March; however, so far there hasn’t been a political consensus over forming a negotiating delegation to run the talks with the Taliban.

In the meantime, President Ghani says that the negotiating delegation “will represent the values of Afghanistan’s Islamic Republic and the constitution. Kabul authorizes the delegation.”

Ghani says, the delegation will enjoy limited authority, “the constitution of Afghanistan, the parliament and/or the Loya Jirga [referendum] are the decision-makers.”

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