The United States has proposed that hundreds of Taliban prisoners be transferred to house arrest in a supervised facility when they are freed from Afghan jails, Reuters reported on Friday, citing three senior official sources said.
The report said the move is a proposed solution for a deadlock that is holding up the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The proposal for Taliban fighters accused of conducting some of the bloodiest attacks in Afghanistan to be placed in a location where they would be under both Taliban and Afghan government surveillance was presented this week to the warring Afghan sides by top US diplomats, the sources said as quoted by Reuters.
The Reuters report says that the diplomats are trying to kickstart peace negotiations in Doha that have been delayed over the prisoner issue.
On the first day of Eid on Friday, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners in response to the group’s three-day ceasefire announcement.
Ghani said the 500 prisoners are not part of the list given to the Afghan government by the Taliban and that these inmates will be released within the next four days.
According to Ghani, the Afghan government has so far released 4,600 Taliban prisoners.
Ghani said he does not have the right to decide on the release of those 400 Taliban prisoners on the Taliban's list who are accused of serious crimes. Therefore, Ghani said, he will call a Loya Jirga, a grand assembly of Afghan elders, to decide on the release of the 400 Taliban prisoners.
“The Americans and their allies agree that it would be insane to let some of the most dreaded Taliban fighters walk out freely...the Afghan forces arrested them for conducting some of the most heinous crimes against humanity,” said a senior western diplomat in Kabul as quoted by Reuters.
The completion of the prisoner exchange was part of the agenda of US special envoy Khalilzad’s meeting in Kabul on July 29.
Khalilzad met with President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
In his meeting with President Ghani, the two discussed an extension of the ceasefire and a reduction in violence, the start of direct talks, and also the prisoner exchange, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.
Khalilzad also met with Abdullah where they discussed the completion of the prisoner swap, reduction in violence, intra-Afghan talks and ceasefire, Abdullah's office said in a statement.