PICTURED: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who contested the prisoner exchange as being not something his government had agreed to.
KABUL, Afghanistan. Tuesday, April 1st, 2019. Three senior Taliban officials arrived in Kabul on Tuesday to discuss the long-disputed prisoner exchange that was the major hiccup between the deal that was signed in Doha, Qatar, in February.
According to government officials speaking to the country’s major news network, Tolo News, 100 Taliban prisoners will be swapped with 20 government forces. Overall it’s a small proportion of the expected number of releases agreed upon by the Taliban. Back in February, the Kabul government of President Ashraf Ghani was quite outspoken against that particular article of the pre-peace deal.
This release comes days after it was announced by the Ghani government that 21 officials would be appointed to a peace negotiating team to undertake more direct peace talks with the Taliban after the prisoner exchange took place.
The Taliban agreed to peace with the U.S. in Doha under the conditions that 5,000 of their fighters would be freed, though the Ghani government protested they had made no such agreement. However much the Taliban declared this point non-negotiable, experts at the time speculated that many more concessions would be made by all parties involved before any semblance of peace would return to Afghanistan.
This early compromise demonstrates that very point, and hopefully will remove the final major barrier for enduring peace in the country that has suffered foreign occupation for over 35 years.
Afghanistan and COVID-19
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said to the associated press yesterday that “If, God forbid, the outbreak happens in an area where we control the situation then we will stop fighting in that area”.
However the Tablian Tweeter noted that this should not be considered a cease-fire, as war would be halted only if the Taliban control of an area is such that they can afford to loosen security measures enough to allow medical care officials to work.
Continue exploring this topic — The Empire of U.S. Bases Could be the Highest Profile Coronavirus Casualty