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US Supports Ghani’s Decision to Reassess Release of Taliban’s Prisoners: Bass

(Last Updated On: November 17, 2019)

The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass, said on Sunday that the Taliban prisoner swap process suspended following the recent attacks in Kabul and Logar provinces.

“We supported President Ghani’s announcement to release three Taliban prisoners to promote peace – and the decision to reassess their pending transfer following the attacks in Logar and Kabul on November 12 and 13,” Ambassador Bass tweeted.

Bass further said that Washington will work closely with Kabul on next steps.

“Making peace means making hard choices, but it also requires careful review of the conditions on the ground. As strategic partners, we will continue to work closely with the Afghan government on next steps,” he added.

Presidential Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi on Saturday confirmed that Anas Haqqani, Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, three members of the Haqqani Network, are still under government custody, because Taliban couldn’t deliver on their promise.

“Taliban’s failure to comply with the conditions had delayed the [prisoners] swap process,” Sediqqi wrote on Twitter.

President Ashraf Ghani’s Spokesman further said that the Afghan government will review the prisoner exchange process, and will act based on the national interests of the country.

However, Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, a pro-Taliban political analyst, who along with other activists recently visited Taliban’s political leaders, including the group’s Deputy Leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar, told reporters in Kabul that the deal did not happen, because the U.S. insisted on a ceasefire and direct talks with the Afghan government.

According to Mutmaeen, the prisoner exchange process halted at the last minutes after Taliban refused to accept the new conditions.

In a letter given to the political activists, Taliban leaders say, they will not hold negotiations with the Washington from the very beginning, adding that Taliban is only ready to sign the previously discussed agreement.

“After signing the agreement with foreign forces, the intra-Afghan talks would begin, and ceasefire will be part of the agenda,” Shafi Azam, a political activist read the Taliban letter, “The Kabul administration, like other parties, will be a part of the intra-Afghan meeting.”

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