US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — The Taliban movement rejected on Wednesday the offer of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to gradually release, within months, five thousand prisoners in exchange for reducing the frequency of violence in a “significant way”, a spokesman for the movement told AFP.
“Five thousand prisoners must be released as part of the confidence-building measures, and this should happen before the Afghan internal talks,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AFP.
He added that any change to that amounted to a “violation” of the agreement concluded between the rebels and Washington in Doha last month.
And the exchange of prisoners was one of the main points in the agreement concluded by the United States and the Taliban in Qatar on February 29.
Although Kabul was not a signatory to the agreement, the agreement stipulated that the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, held by the Afghan authorities, would have led to an angry response from Ghani.
Shahin’s statements came after Ghani issued a decree stating that the government would release 1,500 prisoners from Saturday, but only if the rebels reduce violence.
A further 3,500 prisoners will be released after the talks begin, a Twitter spokesman said.
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