Afghanistan’s president refuses to exchange prisoners immediately
Ashraf Ghani has questioned parts of the US peace agreement with the Taliban. He was not yet ready to release thousands of Taliban fighters.
The peace agreement for Afghanistan agreed between the United States, and the Taliban has reached the first hurdle. Contrary to previous assurances, he is not yet ready to release thousands of Taliban fighters from Afghan prisons, said the country’s president, Ashraf Ghani. This was one of the Taliban’s demands in the agreement they had with the United States. Accordingly, the Taliban should release up to 1,000 prisoners.
Deciding on such releases is not up to the United States, but is “the right” of the Afghan people. Such steps could therefore “be added to the agenda of intra-Afghan talks, but not a prerequisite for talks,” Ghani told journalists. Internal talks are scheduled to take place in Oslo on March 10.
A senior Taliban negotiator had told Afghan broadcaster Tolo TV after signing the US Taliban deal that the release of the prisoners before any talks was essential.
Ghani also announced that the previous one-week partial ceasefire in the country would expand and become more permanent. “The reduction in violence continues with the aim of achieving a full ceasefire,” said the Afghan president. That was what the commander of NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, spoke to the Taliban. A continuation of the partial ceasefire is, therefore “expected”. A Taliban spokesman, on the other hand, said that the phase of reduced violence in Afghanistan has ended.
The United States and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha on Saturday that should also make peace talks possible within Afghanistan. Under certain conditions, the United States has announced the prospect of withdrawing all foreign troops from Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban is to guarantee that they will fight the al-Qaeda terror network and the jihadist militia “Islamic State” (IS) and that peace negotiations with the Afghan government will begin.