Afghanistan will release 400 “hard” Taliban detainees to begin peace talks between the government and the militant group, Reuters reported.
Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga on Sunday approved the release that the Taliban demanded before joining the talks.
“In order to remove an obstacle, allow the peace process to begin and the bloodshed to end, the Loya Jirga has approved the release of 400 Taliban,” the assembly said in a statement.
“Today I will sign the order for the release of these 400 prisoners,” said President Ashraf Ghani shortly after the resolution was adopted.
Ghani met with more than 3,000 Afghan regional leaders in Kabul last week to discuss potential releases, boosting both security and precautions against the coronavirus pandemic, the news service said.
Talks are set to begin in Doha this week, after the militant group spent years refusing to sit down with Afghan government officials. Ghani has asked Taliban officials to agree to a complete ceasefire ahead of talks.
The new versions will bring the total number of Taliban liberated by the Afghan government to 5,000.
The Trump administration and Taliban officials had previously agreed on the release of prisoners in a February agreement that allowed the withdrawal of US troops.
Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, warned that some prisoners may have been detained because of “too broad terrorism laws that provide for indefinite preventive detention,”
Last year, the country saw more than 10,000 casualties or wounded civilians for a total of 100,000 casualties over the decade. Among the prisoners to be released are some suspects in some of the deadliest attacks during that period.
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