The Presidential Palace on Wednesday said in a statement that the Afghan government has released at least 490 Taliban prisoners in the last nine days and efforts are underway to free more inmates.
The prisoners have been freed from Pul-e-Charkhi, the central prison, Bagram prison and prisons in Nangarhar, Paktika, Kandahar, Herat, Jawzjan, Kunar, Farah, Balkh, Kunduz, Baghlan, Kapisa, Laghman, Faryab, Badghis, Logar, Khost and Ghazni.
Ghani announced on June 6 that he will release almost 900 prisoners but he did not clarify whether all of them are the Taliban members. However, the National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib told TOLOnews this week that all the 900 prisoners are the Taliban members.
The move has been sharply criticized by a number of political and military analysts and by Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of the National Directorate of Security and a presidential candidate.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Nabil said the government does not have a clear definition of its friends and enemies and that this situation has taken the country towards a crisis.
Nabil accused some high ranking officials in the government of having links with militants.
“One comes and releases prisoners, but another promises to break the backbone of the Taliban in four months. One of them welcomes the killing of the Taliban, but another welcomes the Taliban prisoners’ release. One of them calls the Taliban patriots, but another calls security forces the heroes of this country,” Nabil wrote on his Facebook account.
“I think that the release of these prisoners would not provide the condition for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban but it will have a positive impact on talks between the US and the Taliban,” said Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, a political analyst.
This comes as Afghan forces have rescued at least 400 people, including civilians and members of the Afghan army and police, from Taliban prisons in the special operations in different parts of the country over the past two weeks.
“The Special Forces came and rescued us at a midnight,” said Daud, a released person from a Taliban prison.
“Taliban took me at Iftar time in Ramadan and put me in a prison,” said Abdul Qahar, a released prisoner.
President Ashraf Ghani has said that freeing the Taliban prisoners was the demand of the delegates of in the peace Jirga held late in April.
“Those who held captives or do kidnappings or torture our people, should buy their shroud and also make a grave for themselves,” the Deputy Minister of Interior Lieutenant General Khoshal Sadat said.