Some released Taliban prisoners claimed they would choose peace and stability "at least for now," as 328 of them were released from the Pul-e-Charkhi prison on Tuesday.
TOLOnews reporter Zahra Rahimi interviewed five of them. One of them, Sayed Anwar Khairat, was nicknamed “Mr. Manager” by other prisoners. He did not mention what role he had among the Taliban but he said he was arrested by the National Directorate of Security forces in Paktika province eight years ago on charges of cooperation with the group.
During his time in prison, he had no news from his family and had no contact with them for years. Now, he said, he doesn’t know whether to return to the battlefield or to go home.
“A healthy human does not want to live in a bad situation--in war and in insecurity,” said Khairat, referring to the importance of peace in Afghanistan.
Four other prisoners said they were arrested from Helmand and Kandahar. Each of them spent more than six years in prison, they said.
“I am happy for freedom and peace in Afghanistan more than being happy for our release from Pul-e-Charkhi prison,” said a released Taliban prisoner.
“My life has been spent in war. Over the last forty years, there is war and bombardment,” said Mullah Mohammad, a released Taliban prisoner.
Release from prison is an opportunity for 20-year-old Fazl Rabi to continue his education.
“There shouldn’t be war; there should be progress so that we can get an education,” Rabi said.
Despite an unwritten commitment to not return to the battlefield, some prisoners said they are waiting for a decision from their leadership, but in the meantime, they have been told to spend time with their families for a while and to avoid violence.
“Our elders have directed us to go to our homes and continue with a normal life and to not return to war but go towards peace,” said Muslim Afghan, a released Taliban prisoner.