The planned “conditional” release of three key members of the Haqqani network by President Ghani, in cooperation with the US, has been met with mixed reactions among the people, MPs and critics, some of whom are skeptical about the impact of this move on a possible peace process.
Kabul residents interviewed by TOLOnews said that Anas Haqqani’s release, in particular, should result in a reduction of violence in the country.
“We are ready for their release if the Taliban gets ready for peace,” said Hassan, a Kabul resident.
“Each of the three is well known to all of us. Explosions and bombings are done from their side but those who are releasing them should be counted amongst them,” said Bismillah, a Kabul resident.
For some lawmakers, the three Haqqani Network members are just “pawns” in a “game of war” for international players.
“Haqqani and Akhundzada and Mullah Mansour--who was their former leader--as well as Afghanistan’s leaders, are the pawns that can be used for childish games for them,” said Ramazan Bashardost, an MP.
“The decision to release Anas Haqqani makes clear one point: that other countries and other people are making decisions in this country, not the government,” said Ali Akbar Jamshidi, an MP.
A poll by TOLOnews, meanwhile, showed that 82% of 19,100 Facebook users voted against the release of the Haqqani network members while the remaining 18% voted in favor of this decision.
“First, peace should come, then they should sit and talk with the Afghan government and then they can decide on the release of prisoners,” said Abdullah, a Kabul resident.
Over the last three years, the government has blamed the Haqqani network for the following attacks:
A car bomb attack on Green Village in September 2019 that left 16 dead and 119 others wounded.
An attack on Shaheen Corps in Balkh province in April 2017 that resulted in over 250 army personnel dead.
A truck bomb in Zanbaq Square in downtown Kabul in May 2017 which left over 150 dead, 600 others wounded.
A car bomb attack in Shah Shaheed area in Kabul in August 2017 which left over 250 dead and wounded.
A car bomb attack near the former Interior Ministry building in downtown Kabul in January 2018, which left over 100 killed and 235 others wounded.
An Attack on the VIP protection unit in Kabul in April 2016, which left 64 dead and 347 others wounded.
But President Ghani during his speech insisted that the release of the prisoners will not add to the level of violence in the country.