Diplomacy

Taliban suspend prisoner exchange talks in latest obstruction of peace talks

Salaam Times and AFP

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Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban in Qatar, attends the Intra Afghan Dialogue talks in Doha, Qatar, last July 7. Shaheen on April 6 announced that the Taliban would no longer take part in talks with the Afghan government on a prisoner swap. [Karim Jaafar/AFP]

KABUL -- The Taliban have announced they will no longer participate in "fruitless" discussions with the Afghan government over a prisoner swap that was a key part of a deal with the United States.

In a tweet first sent in Pashtu about 11.30pm Afghan time on Monday (April 6), the Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen blamed the administration of President Ashraf Ghani for delaying the prisoner release "under one pretext or another".

"Therefore, our technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings with relevant sides starting from tomorrow," Shaheen, who is based in Doha, said in a subsequent tweet in English.

The two foes have been holding talks in Kabul since last week to try to finalise the prisoner swap that was originally supposed to have happened by March 10.

The release had been delayed because the Taliban are demanding the release of 15 "top commanders", said Matin Bek, a member of the government's negotiating team.

"We cannot release the killers of our people," Bek told reporters April 6.

"We don't want them to go back to the battlefield and capture a whole province," he said.

The government was ready to release as many as 400 low-threat Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in return for a "considerable" reduction in violence, but the Taliban rejected that offer, said Bek.

Washington signed a deal with the Taliban in late February that suggested the Afghan government -- which was not a signatory to the accord -- to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and for the insurgents to release 1,000 pro-government captives in return.

Defending ANDSF

The militant group's move is the latest excuse to avoid coming to the peace table.

The Taliban last month continued posting photos touting the military training of its members, raising doubts among Afghans about how serious the militants were about peace.

That came after the militants on March 28 first stalled talks on the prisoner exchange when they rejected a negotiating team put together by the Afghan government, claiming that the team was not inclusive.

The militant group instead agreed only to meet a technical team from the Afghan government to discuss the contentious issue.

Meanwhile, even though the Taliban have killed scores of security personnel since the deal was signed, the Taliban April 5 released a statement accusing the United States of violating the "peace agreement".

Hours after the Taliban statement, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan, responded on Twitter.

"USFOR-A [US Forces-Afghanistan] has upheld, and continues to uphold, the military terms of the U.S.-TB [Taliban] agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless. USFOR-A has been clear - we will defend our ANDSF [Afghan National Defence and Security Forces] partners if attacked, in compliance with the agreement," Leggett wrote.

"The TB must reduce violence. A reduction in violence is the will of the Afghan people & necessary to allow the political process to work toward a settlement suitable for all Afghans. We once again call on all parties to focus their efforts on the global pandemic of COVID-19," he said.

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If, aimed to don't be care, a thousand reasons will comes as objection! as longer as they prolong peace discussion, only a few warlords may benefits from sightseeing and testing to 5 stars hotel in Qatar!

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after the Taliban statement, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan, responded on Twitter. "USFOR-A [US Forces-Afghanistan] has upheld, and continues to uphold, the military terms of the U.S.-TB [Taliban] agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless. USFOR-A has been clear - we will defend our ANDSF [Afghan National Defence and Security Forces] partners

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Taliban are not independent in their decision; they are being supported by the countries of the region. Whatever Arab countries and Pakistan tell them, they do it; therefore, the Afghan government should try to build a regional consensus to end the war and receive support for preserving the democratic system in Afghanistan, and to make the world understand that peace will never come in Afghanistan with the establishment of the Islamic Emirate. Taliban should share 50 percent power in the government with preserving the democratic system. And the ministries must be divided between the Afghan politicians and the Taliban. The ministries of security, such as the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and the National Directorate of Security should be handed over to the Taliban because they are better in providing security and the ministries of finance, trade, and so on should be governed by the current government.

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No, if these key ministries are given to them, they will both repeat their previous terror or dark era and destroy the name of democratic system as well.

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Taliban is considered as a major threat to Afghanistan's security. After the peace agreement with the United States, Taliban have become very arrogant and considered themselves the main heirs of this land. They say that they had a strong government; the United States came and overthrew it and replaced it by its puppet government; therefore, they do not recognize this government. Before they said that their war was against the occupation and the presence of foreign forces, but now they are saying that this is not an Islamic government; therefore, they want to establish an Islamic government. The United States made a big mistake by signing peace agreement with Taliban, because it gave Taliban more morale and they say that they defeated the United States, which is the world's most powerful country.

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America should support President Ghani because Taliban are mercenaries of Pakistan's intelligence agencies, while remnants of the former Northern Alliance led by Abdullah are spies of Russians and Iranians. Ashraf Ghani is devoted not only to the Afghan nation but he has also good intention for the rest of the world.

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Neither Ashraf Ghani nor Taliban are in favor of peace in Afghanistan. Both are thinking about their own interests. If Taliban make peace, then who will work as mercenaries to Pakistan? If Ashraf Ghani makes peace with the Taliban, he will lose his presidential position. Peace talks will not give result. This process will continue until the end of Ashraf Ghani's presidency

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