Diplomacy

Taliban fighters freed in prisoner exchange have returned to battlefield, says Abdullah

By AFP

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Taliban prisoners May 26 walk in line during their release from the Bagram prison in Parwan Province. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

WASHINGTON -- A number of Taliban prisoners whom the Afghan government released as a condition for peace talks have taken up arms again, Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah said Tuesday (September 22).

Discussions with the Taliban in Qatar so far have been positive, said Abdullah.

However, he said some -- though not the majority -- of the 5,000 Taliban prisoners released by the government as a condition for talks had resumed the fight against Kabul.

"I do know that some have returned to the battlefield, which is a violation of the agreement that they had made," Abdullah said during an online conference with the US Council on Foreign Relations.

Talks between the two sides began in Doha on a positive note, as the delegations build some familiarity with each other, said Abdullah.

Yet the level of violence inside Afghanistan has not fallen, and he called on the United States, which launched the peace process with its own deal with the Taliban and Pakistan to pressure them to agree to a ceasefire.

"Unfortunately, so far, the level of violence is very high and to a level that is not acceptable for the people," Abdullah said.

"I repeat my call to the Taliban themselves and also to all partners who have any leverage over the Taliban to press on that point."

Abdullah said he planned to visit Pakistan in the coming days for the first time since 2008.

Violence levels 'too high'

The persistent violence and the Taliban's failure to sever relations with the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups were singled out as barriers to success by US officials testifying in Congress September 22.

A drawdown of US troops, under the US-Taliban agreement, will halt at about 4,500 remaining in Afghanistan in November while Washington assesses whether the insurgents are living up to their pledges, said US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.

"Further withdrawals will be determined based on conditions on the ground and delivery by the Taliban on their commitments," Khalilzad told a hearing of the House of Representatives oversight committee.

The US has slashed troop numbers in Afghanistan by more than half from above 12,000.

Washington has pledged to withdraw all forces by May 2021, if the Taliban and the government can achieve a solid peace agreement.

"By any measure, the current levels of violence are too high. We know that the reductions are possible," Khalilzad said, noting that the Taliban respected short ceasefires in the past.

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Death to the savage and criminal Taliban. They are killers of thousands of people in the country. Taliban are accustomed to war and will never stop war and violence. They want absolute power in Afghanistan and do not give rights to other groups.

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There is no doubt that the released Taliban prisoners have returned to the battlefield. It was clear from the beginning that Taliban wanted the release of these 5,000 prisoners in order to strengthen their ranks against the government. Taliban had about 14,000 prisoners with the government, but the group insisted on releasing 5,000 prisoners. Its reason was that these 5,000 prisoners were more experienced and they were key individuals than the other prisoners of the group. They knew that each of them could lead tens of others on the battlefields. Now Taliban are victorious in this twenty- year war. Over the past twenty years, Afghan security forces sustained more casualties in the war than Taliban. Billions of dollars have been spent on funding, equipping and training of Afghan security forces, but these forces did not have any achievements against the enemy. Although Taliban forces receive neither salary, nor money is spent on them, but these forces are stronger and more experienced. All those who fight in the ranks of Taliban are volunteers and spend their own money in the war, but most of the Afghan government forces joined these forces for the sake of money. If one day these salaries are cut, all Afghan security forces will be disbanded.

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As long as a ceasefire is not declared, it is not possible to stop fighters from fighting. It is necessary for America to bring pressure on the hypocrite army and intelligence of Pakistan to make Taliban ready to accept a ceasefire. All the corruption is in the ass of Pakistan. Killers of the international forces are Pakistani army men and intelligence, killers of the Afghan civilians are the same pigs, killers of the Afghan soldiers are the same pigs (Pakistanis). They cheated the international society and got billions of dollars from them and in exchange they used the money on training of terrorists and then sent them to Afghanistan to kill Afghans and the international coalition forces. ISI's late director Hameed Gull has said that Pakistan will defeat America by America who meant that they will defeat America with the money they receive from America. Death to the terrorist Pakistan.

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