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US Welcomes Ghani's Pledge to Release Prisoners

The United States and the Taliban welcomed the Afghan government’s pledge on Sunday to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in response to the Taliban's announcement on Saturday evening of a three-day ceasefire for Eid.
US Welcomes Ghani
President Ashraf Ghani in a tweet said that the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo phoned him and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, and “thanked the Afghan government for initiating the brave process of releasing up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners,” Ghani said in a tweet. 
"(Pompeo) asserted that the US will push for a long-term ceasefire/RiV and the start of direct negotiations,” Ghani said.
The Afghan government on Monday released 100 Taliban prisoners as part of the 2,000 prisoners it pledged to release, according to Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
Faisal said the prisoners were released from Bagram prison.
“We hope that with this the ceasefire will also continue, and the direct negotiations will start,” he added.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said the pledge to release 2,000 prisoners -- by the Afghan government -- is a good step but he said that the process of releasing 5,000 prisoners should be completed to create a suitable environment for confidence building.
“The sooner the prisoner release happens the sooner there will be a reduction in violence and the opportunity will be created for intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Khalil Safi, former country director of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international crisis group.
“If the Taliban continues its attacks, I don’t think the government will be obliged to address the pledge to release 2,000 Taliban prisoners. I think the prisoner release will be stopped once again,” said Sami Yusufzai, a journalist.
Analysts said there is no monitoring process to ensure that prisoners will not return to the battlefield after they are released.
“They have been released. Are there guarantees that they will not return to war?” asked Hazrat Ali, an MP.
“This can change into a big security challenge if relevant security agencies do not release them through a proper mechanism,” said Ahmad Saeedi, an analyst.
Source : Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)
Tuesday 26 May 2020 13:21
Story Code: 210717 Copy text available
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