The Afghan government on Saturday night announced the release of another 98 Taliban inmates from prison as part of efforts to accelerate the peace process and to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, sources close to the Taliban have said that if the Afghan government ensure the collective release of 5,000 inmates demanded by the Taliban, this will help to start the intra-Afghan talks in the near future.
According to the Office of National Security Council (ONSC), the Afghan government so far has released 650 Taliban inmates from the jails.
“Based on the decree of the president, 98 inmates were released from the Pul-e-Charkhi jail. So far 650 Taliban have been released, another 850 will also be released,” said Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the NSC.
The Taliban demand the release of their 5,000 inmates jailed by the Afghan government, which was mentioned in the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29. The agreement called for the Taliban to release 1,000 detained Afghan security force members.
“The release of the prisoners is important as a confidence-building measure, because this will cement confidence building, but there is no specific mechanism when it comes to the release of Taliban prisoners. In the absence of a mechanism, both sides level their allegations against each other,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
“The two sides will continue the exchange of prisoners, this means that the prisoners will be released, but the two side has disagreement over a mechanism,” said Sami Yousufzai, freelance journalist.
The Taliban so far have released 112 Afghan government forces.