Afghan government to start releasing Taliban inmates from March 14

Ashraf Ghani
Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday issued a decree to release Taliban inmates on parole, and the release of the first 1,500 prisoners will start on March 14, an official confirmed on Wednesday.

According to the decree about 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released gradually. All prisoners who will be released in accordance with the decree must make a written commitment to guarantee they would not return to the battlefield, Sediq Sediqqi, chief presidential spokesman said on Twitter. The Afghan government will release the first 1,500 Taliban inmates within 15 days starting March 14. Every day 100 Taliban prisoners will be released in consideration of age, medical condition, and the remaining time of sentenced imprisonment. Every prisoner must pass through a biometric registration process, Sediqqi said. The remaining 3,500 Taliban prisoners will be released during and after intra-Afghan negotiations.

According to the decree, after the start of the intra-Afghan talks, 500 Taliban prisoners will be released every two weeks, and during this period a major reduction in violence should be witnessed, until the remaining 3,500 prisoners are released.President Ghani earlier said the Taliban prisoners’ release will lead to a reduction in violence. “Fortunately, we have reached a framework where significant reduction in violence will take form in exchange for releasing Taliban prisoners, so that people can feel its tangible outcomes,” Ghani said on Monday during his presidential inauguration.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, on Tuesday said that the outfit has handed “the United States a detailed list of 5,000 inmates which no one can alter.” The United States and the Taliban inked a peace deal on Feb. 29 in the Gulf state of Qatar, while Kabul and Washington also issued a joint declaration on the same day. According to the agreements, the United States and coalition forces will leave Afghanistan within 14 months and the Taliban will take part in intra-Afghan peace talks.

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