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Ghani, By Decree, 'Abolishes' Chief Executive Office

Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Presidential Palace, at a press conference on Wednesday said that President Ashraf Ghani had issued a decree ending the chief executive office.

The chief executive office was established in 2014 in a power-sharing agreement negotiated to solve an election crisis involving Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Ghani became president, and Abdullah became chief executive.

Ghani was named the winner by the Independent Election Commission, but Abdullah claimed victory in the recent presidential election, and both men held inauguration ceremonies on Monday.

But the international community has publicly acknowledged Ghani's inauguration, and called for unity.

“After the swearing-in ceremony, there is no longer a chief executive office,” Sediqqi said.

Sediqqi said that President Ghani issued a decree for the release of Taliban prisoners in order for the peace talks between the government and the Taliban to start.

On Tuesday, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban's Qatar office in a tweet said: “We handed over to the US team a detailed list of 5000 prisoners that none can tamper with. Our very condition is that the detainees are acceptable if verified by our team, whether they are handed over to us in an open rural area or in the premises of prisons.”

But Sediqqi said: “The Taliban said the prisoners should be free without conditions, which is not possible,” adding that “as the president's decree states, the prisoner release is conditional on a reduction in violence, intra-Afghan talks and ceasefire.”

“For the release of their (Taliban) prisoners, we want guarantees that they will not return to war,” Sediqqi said, adding that “without a guarantee it would be hard to release the prisoners.”

He stated that no Taliban prisoners has been released yet, but according to the president’s decree, the prisoners will be released starting March 14.

He also urged the Taliban to reduce the violence and “killing of Afghans."

“You have witnessed that the Taliban attacks are again increasing,” he mentioned.

“If the violence does not stop during the intra-Afghan talks, the prisoner release process will also be stopped.”

“If this process fails, the Taliban will be responsible, not the Afghan government. We have always shown our willingness for the peace process,” said Sediqqi.

“We have our roadmap for peace and the Taliban must change the current situation,” he said.

 “Peace is our priority… and we want this process to be successful,” Sediqq said, adding that “Our security forces are still in a defensive mode.”

Ghani, By Decree, 'Abolishes' Chief Executive Office

Also in press brief: “We are calling on the Taliban to reduce the violence and stop the killing of Afghans,” Sediqqi said.

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Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Presidential Palace, at a press conference on Wednesday said that President Ashraf Ghani had issued a decree ending the chief executive office.

The chief executive office was established in 2014 in a power-sharing agreement negotiated to solve an election crisis involving Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Ghani became president, and Abdullah became chief executive.

Ghani was named the winner by the Independent Election Commission, but Abdullah claimed victory in the recent presidential election, and both men held inauguration ceremonies on Monday.

But the international community has publicly acknowledged Ghani's inauguration, and called for unity.

“After the swearing-in ceremony, there is no longer a chief executive office,” Sediqqi said.

Sediqqi said that President Ghani issued a decree for the release of Taliban prisoners in order for the peace talks between the government and the Taliban to start.

On Tuesday, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban's Qatar office in a tweet said: “We handed over to the US team a detailed list of 5000 prisoners that none can tamper with. Our very condition is that the detainees are acceptable if verified by our team, whether they are handed over to us in an open rural area or in the premises of prisons.”

But Sediqqi said: “The Taliban said the prisoners should be free without conditions, which is not possible,” adding that “as the president's decree states, the prisoner release is conditional on a reduction in violence, intra-Afghan talks and ceasefire.”

“For the release of their (Taliban) prisoners, we want guarantees that they will not return to war,” Sediqqi said, adding that “without a guarantee it would be hard to release the prisoners.”

He stated that no Taliban prisoners has been released yet, but according to the president’s decree, the prisoners will be released starting March 14.

He also urged the Taliban to reduce the violence and “killing of Afghans."

“You have witnessed that the Taliban attacks are again increasing,” he mentioned.

“If the violence does not stop during the intra-Afghan talks, the prisoner release process will also be stopped.”

“If this process fails, the Taliban will be responsible, not the Afghan government. We have always shown our willingness for the peace process,” said Sediqqi.

“We have our roadmap for peace and the Taliban must change the current situation,” he said.

 “Peace is our priority… and we want this process to be successful,” Sediqq said, adding that “Our security forces are still in a defensive mode.”

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