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Taliban seeks release of remaining prisoners

Updated October 30, 2020 13:30 IST
Militants stand handcuffed after being arrested in Ghazni province, eastern Afghanistan, June 28, 2020 (Photo: /Xinhua/IANS)

During a meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha, the Taliban sought the release of the remaining prisoners currently lodged in Afghan jails, according to a spokesman of the militant group.

In a statement on Thursday, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said the two sides also discussed issues around the implementation of US-Taliban peace agreement in Wednesday’s meeting, TOLO News reported.

The Afghan government has so far released 5,600 Taliban prisoners as part of the conditions that were laid out before the the peace negotiations officially started on September 12.

But, an Afghan government spokesman said that the Taliban’s demand for release of the remaining prisoners has no importance for the peace process.

“What the Taliban has said and showed in action have weakened the peace process,” presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

“The continuation of violence and expressing strange statements and even raising the issue of prisoners itself creates barriers for peace,” he added.

The development comes comes as negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban are in Doha where they are trying to bridge gaps on some contested topics and procedural rules intended for start of the direct talks.

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