Ashraf Ghani’s order to launch an offensive against the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) and the suspension of the release of Taliban prisoners will halt the process of launching intra-Afghan negotiations, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS on Wednesday.
"This is regrettable, because by his actions the head of the Kabul administration actually stalls the process of moving towards the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations," he said.
"Such actions clearly indicate that Kabul is not much interested in the early launch of intra-Afghan talks," the diplomat added.
Kabulov stressed that the Taliban’s combat activities against government forces did not violate the agreements reached by the Taliban and the US in Doha.
On Monday, Afghan authorities announced the suspension of the release of Taliban supporters due to the delay in handing over captured Afghan troops to the government in Kabul. On Tuesday, Ghani ordered the army to proceed with offensive operations against terrorists.
On February 29, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha. Under the deal, intra-Afghan consultations were to begin on March 10. It stipulated that up to 5,000 Taliban supporters and up to 1,000 people held by extremists should be freed as part of confidence-building measures by the beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations.