Members of the Taliban's office in Qatar said that the group and the US have reached an agreement in which "5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghan government prisons will be released, and 1,000 government forces prisoners will be released by the Taliban" before intra-Afghan talks begin.
But in response, a Presidential Palace spokesman said that the release of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan talks will be one of the most important discussions, but it is not possible to release them before the talks between Afghans.
“When we, as the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, enter into negotiations with the Taliban and demand the release of their prisoners, it will naturally be discussed, and will take into account the laws and interests of our people and will be based on the consensus that will arise at that stage,” said Sediq Sediqqi, President Ghani’s spokesman.
Politicians who have recently met with Zalmay Khalilzad say a meeting regarding the release of prisoners between the Afghan government and the Taliban was set to take place in Geneva within the next few days, but the Afghan government has not wanted to talk to the Taliban before talks begin between Afghans.
“A meeting was scheduled to be held in Geneva about the release, which is not taking place now,” said Haji Din Mohammad, leader of the Peace and Development Party.
On the other hand, Mawlana Jalaluddin Shinwari, the former attorney general during the Taliban regime, said that if the process of releasing Taliban prisoners does not begin before the talks between Afghans, the process will face deadlock.
“If prisoners are not released, and the intra-Afghan dialogue is centered on the 'Presidential Palace,' I do not think the talks will begin, said Shinwari.
US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has recently had two meetings with President Ghani, and unlike previous meetings with the US Special Envoy, the Presidential Palace is now accepting a significant reduction in violence preceding intra-Afghan talks, rather than insisting on a ceasefire.
“There is no doubt that the announcement of the election results has created an understanding between the US and the government about the peace process,” said Ahmadullah Alizai, a political analyst.