President Ashraf Ghani at a gathering in eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday responded to the Taliban’s demand for the release 5,000 prisoners ahead of the intra-Afghan talks, saying that the Afghan government also has its demands.
“There are two sides--they have conditions and we have conditions," Ghani said. During his speech, he also asked: “When are the Taliban going to leave Pakistan?”
The foreign organizations that have come to Afghanistan want peace, but the Taliban will cut its relationships with "Al-Qaeda but not with others.”
Just two days after the US-Taliban peace agreement was signed in Doha, a letter was seen by TOLOnews allegedly from the Taliban leadership to its members saying that the "RIV has ended" and that attacks on government forces should resume.
The letter also said that US forces should not be attacked.
Ghani, in response to the Taliban's resuming attacks on security forces, said: “You have made peace with the foreigners so what does your jihad mean now?”
“Killing Afghans is a crime,” Ghani added.
President Ghani, following Saturday's formal agreements, balked at a part of the US-Taliban deal mentioning the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government as a "confidence-building" measure for intra-Afghan talks, saying the government has made no such commitment.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in a tweet on Monday, citing the language of the deal, said that the deal will not go ahead unless the 5,000 prisoners are released.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday in an interview on CBS News' Face the Nation was asked if what Ghani was saying was "wrong":
Pompeo answered: “(The document) says that we will work with all relevant parties to build on confidence, to create confidence-building measures amongst all of the parties, the Afghan government, non-Taliban, and others..We- we want this to be an inclusive process.”
Pompeo said that he hopes that in the coming days the intra-Afghan talks will start.
Also on Monday, US Defense Secretary Esper told reporters that the US drawdown should start within the next 10 days, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, referring to the resumed attacks by Taliban, said the group is not "monolithic," suggesting that some groups were acting independently, and he also said that he did not expect violence to be reduced to "zero."