KABUL, Afghanistan. August 19th, 2020. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday he sees the country close to a “dignified peace,” after continuing prisoner exchange agreements move, albeit slowly and occasionally disrupted, forward.
“We have always called on the Taliban to agree to a long-term ceasefire and to start the talks with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Ghani.
“We want to bring a peace so that all the tribes of Afghanistan live together in a peaceful and secure atmosphere,” he added.
Taliban attacks in Nangarhar and Takhar resulted in 20 deaths among Afghan Security Forces, while a recent round of Taliban prisoner releases saw 80 of a promised 400 inmates turned free.
“The talks are underway, we released 80 of them from the 400, they (Taliban) also released some of our prisoners, but now we are waiting for the commandos and pilots to be released and then we will release the remaining prisoners,” said National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib.
According to Sayed Sharif Amiri, writing for TOLO News, “some Western countries, including the U.S., Australia and France, have asked the government of Afghanistan to not release some of these prisoners who are involved in killing their citizens in Afghanistan”.
In February when a pre-peace deal was concluded between the Taliban and the Ghani government in Doha, Qatar, the terms were that a true peace and power sharing agreement, conditioned by a complete American withdrawal, would proceed after a large mutual release of prisoners, with the Taliban agreeing to release around 1,000 and Kabul to 5,000.
Thousands have already been released, but there have been many interruptions in the process.