Security

More than 900 Taliban prisoners freed in 'important step' for peace process

AFP

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A number of Taliban prisoners leave a Kabul prison in this undated photo. [Afghan National Security Council]

KABUL -- The Afghan government has released more than 900 Taliban fighters since the United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban aimed to put an end to the Afghan war, an official said Thursday (May 7).

The release is part of a prisoner-exchange programme included in the US-Taliban deal agreed February 29, which has seen the Taliban free dozens of Afghan security personnel.

"So far 933 Taliban detainees have been released from Afghan jails," Javid Faisal, spokesman for Afghanistan's National Security Council, told AFP.

"I will not fight against the government again," Mohammad Hakim, a Taliban prisoner from Ghazni Province, said in a video released by the Afghan National Security Council. "We are very happy with Afghan soldiers because they have treated us very well in prison. We regret what we have done in the past."

In return, the Taliban have released 132 captured security personnel, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.

Later on Friday (May 8), Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the Taliban's political office in Doha, announced the release of an 48 additional Afghan soldiers.

"This process will continue in the future as well," Shaheen said in a Twitter post.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy to Afghanistan who negotiated the US-Taliban deal, sees the prisoner exchange as an "important step" toward reducing violence in the war-torn country.

The deal stipulated the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the insurgents would free 1,000 Afghan security personnel.

The swap was supposed to have taken place by March 10 but has hit several hurdles, with the Afghan government claiming the Taliban wanted 15 of their "top commanders" released.

Those released by the Afghan government so far are low-risk Taliban prisoners who have vowed to abstain from fighting, officials said.

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In fact there is no difference between big and small prisoners. When it comes to crime and betrayal, the current government has the biggest criminals, traitors, human rights' violators and heroin smugglers as well as members of the land grabbing mafias. This is not any baseless claim. Sayyaf, Gul Agha Sherzai, Abdullah, Atta Mohammad Noor, Zahir Qadeer, Humayoon, Qanooni, Salih, Shia spies trained by Iran, such as Muhaqiq, Karim Khalili, Akbari and other Ayatullahs are good examples. These people are criminals either themselves or they have kept criminals and make them fight like dogs. They make them celebrate death anniversaries of former warlords such as Abdul Ali Mazari, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Burhanudin Rabbani, Qaseem Faheem, and spend millions of dollars of the government budget on it. I will return back to the main point, when peace is being made, based on the Americans' agreement, the government has to free 5000 prisoners, and Taliban have to free 1000 prisoners, and then sit together for holding peace talks; however, in fact this looks far from reality because both sides' benefits are in the continuation of war.

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The government finally released the Taliban prisoners and continue to release them. It would have been better if the government had done the same from the beginning, because the Taliban attacks would not have intensified and hundreds of army soldiers, police and civilians would not have been killed. After signing of the peace agreement, the government leaders said that they will not release the Taliban prisoners but now they are releasing the Taliban prisoners. It would have been better if the government had released all 5,000 Taliban prisoners at once the way Taliban wanted. On one hand, this would have paved the way for inter-Afghan talks, and on the other hand, the Taliban's attacks would be reduced. Afghans want peace throughout the country as soon as possible. No security will come to Afghanistan without making peace with the Taliban. May that be today or tomorrow, the Afghan government and politicians will have to accept the demands of Taliban. Otherwise, they cannot destroy the Taliban because the United States and 40 NATO countries have not been able to destroy the Taliban in 18 years. How can this government eliminate the Taliban? Therefore, peace must be made with the Taliban. There is no option other than peace.

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