No intra-Afghan talks until 5000 prisoners are released: Taliban
Taliban ready for talks
Afghan Taliban have linked their participation in intra-Afghan talks with release of 5000 Taliban prisoners. Until, 5000 Taliban prisoners are released as per the agreement, we will not participate in intra-Afghan talks, Zabiullah Mujahid, the Afghan Taliban Spokesman told Reuters news agency on Monday.
Taliban spokesman’s statement has come a day after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani refused to release the 5000 Taliban prisoners. Under the historic deal struck between US and Taliban on February 29th, the US had agreed to release 5000 Afghan Taliban imprisoned in various prisons of Afghanistan. As reciprocal, the Taliban had agreed to release 1000 Afghan security personnel and government officials. Under the agreement, it was agreed that the Taliban prisoners would be set free by March 10th.
Zabiullah Mujahid stated that seven days reduction in violence agreement was expired.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview to an American channel stated that the implementaiton of the agreement was challenging but it was a historic event.
As per the agreement struck between US and Taliban, intra-Afghan talks were scheduled to be started on March 10th. According to Afghan journalist, Sami Yousagzai, a six member of Afghan government’s team had arrived in Doha, the Qatari capital to hold talks with Taliban. There were no immediate comment on the part of Taliban and Afghan government in this regard.