The National Security Council of Afghanistan in a tweet said that a technical committee of the Peace Initial Contact Group (PICG) hosted a Taliban technical delegation in Kabul yesterday to “hold in-person discussion on matters related to prisoners release.”
“The PICG technical committee and the Taliban delegation made progress on technical matters and will reconvene tomorrow for more negotiations,” NSC said, adding that the ICRC observed the meeting.
This follows several video conferences between members of the Afghan government, the Taliban, and other parties, including the US, that outlined the technical procedure for conducting the swap.
The prisoner release is a step outlined in the US-Taliban deal signed in Doha on February 29 that is intended to be a confidence-building measure to pave the way for the intra-Afghan talks.
“Up to 5,000 prisoners of (the Taliban) and up to one thousand (1,000) prisoners of the other side will be released by March 10, 2020, the first day of intra-Afghan negotiations, which corresponds to Rajab 15, 1441 on the Hijri Lunar calendar and Hoot 20, 1398 on the Hijri Solar calendar,” part of the agreement reads.
On March 1 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said his government had not pledged to free Taliban prisoners, as stated in the deal between the US and the militants. The Afghan government had not been included in the deal.
“There is no commitment on the release of the 5,000 prisoners” of the Taliban,” Ghani said at the time.
But on March 11, President Ashraf Ghani signed an order to pardon and release Taliban prisoners in order for the peace talks between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban to start. However, he said the release would be gradual, and would have conditions.
But following repeated international calls from the US and others to keep the peace process on track, meetings were arranged between both groups to allow the swap to begin.