The afghan government should end “very soon,” the process of release of prisoners the taliban, an essential condition to be able to start a peace process, unique with the insurgents, said Thursday the president Ashraf Ghani.
According to a historic agreement signed in late February by the United States and the taliban, Kabul must release up to 5,000 rebels, who should in return release up to 1,000 members of the afghan forces they hold.
It is a prerequisite for the opening of peace negotiations, direct between the afghan authorities and the taliban, previously unseen in nearly 19 years of war.
Kabul has already released 3000 taliban and they have already released more than 500 members of the afghan security forces, according to the emissary u.s. Zalmay Khalilzad, who called Thursday to go to the end of these exchanges.
“My colleagues and I have taken the decision to release 2000 prisoners additional very soon. We will soon be announcing the date, ” said Ashraf Ghani during a virtual conference organised by two think tanks of Washington, the Atlantic Council and US Institute for Peace.
The head of the afghan State, however, has accused the taliban of a lack of transparency on the number of afghan soldiers, that they still hold.
“The numbers continue to vary. We need clarity on the fate of those they hold and the guarantee that they are all released, until the last “, he insisted.
A taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said on Twitter that the exchange of prisoners at this stage was “a positive step” that represented ” an important advance “.
The negotiations interafghanes “will begin immediately” after the end of the release of prisoners, has warned Zalmay Khalilzad on Twitter. The lead american negotiator has welcomed a declaration of the taliban, ensuring that they would participate in such talks in the week following the completion of the exchanges of prisoners.
“We are closer than ever to the goal of holding negotiations interafghanes “, has again insisted the diplomat.
The taliban and Kabul have observed a ceasefire for three days last month and the violence have since remained broadly lower than before.
President Ghani has called for a “cease-fire” on humanitarian to deliver food and medical aid due to the pandemic due to the coronavirus.
Recognizing a ” reduction of violence “, he pointed out, however, that the country had always deplored thirty deaths per day on average.