The head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Matin Bek, who is also a member of the negotiation team, said the reason for the delay in the release of Taliban prisoners is that the Taliban are demanding the release of their 15 senior commanders who are involved in “big attacks.”
The release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners is part of deal signed by the US and the Taliban in Doha on Feb. 29.
Bek said demands reveal the Taliban’s "stubbornness" and it is "not acceptable" as it will lead to the fall of provinces and the continuation of violence in the country.
“We are ready to release 400 (prisoners) in the first phase. It is the Taliban who do not want this. They are asking for the release of the 15 (commanders). If we release the 15 individuals, their hands are stained with people’s blood,” Bek told a press conference on Monday.
This comes as a Taliban statement on Sunday said the US-Taliban agreement had been violated, citing the delays with the prisoner release.
“Americans have fallen short in addressing their responsibilities, and one of them is the prisoner issue,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban regime member.
In reaction to the Taliban statement, Col. Sonny Leggett, the US forces spokesman in Afghanistan, said in a tweet that “The Taliban must reduce violence.
A reduction in violence is the will of the Afghan people and necessary to allow the political process to work toward a settlement suitable for all Afghans. We once again call on all parties to focus their efforts on the global pandemic of COVID-19.”
He added: “USFOR-A has upheld, and continues to uphold, the military terms of the US-Taliban agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless. USFOR-A has been clear- we will defend our ANDSF partners if attacked, in compliance with the agreement.”
“The agreement did not mention anything on reduction in violence but it was said that violence should be reduced,” said Khalid Asad, an MP.
“It would be better if the Afghan government considers its national interests and ends of the war,” said Tahir Yarghal, a former military analyst.
Meanwhile, Fraidoon Khwazoon, a spokesman for Abdullah Abdullah, said the Presidential Palace is seeking advantages from releasing Taliban prisoners.
“They are not thinking about any other thing except seeking advantages. This is not in favor of the process and the country,” he said.
Three Taliban representatives are in Kabul to discuss the release of prisoners with the Afghan officials.
The release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners is part a deal signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha on Feb. 29.