Taliban leaders’ release to help build trust: Mutasim
A finance minister during the Taliban’s regime, Mutasim told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone that he welcomed the US administration’s decision to release the five Taliban leaders.
The five were released on Saturday in response to the release of the only US soldier in Taliban’s custody. Sgt Bowe Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban for five years.
The Taliban released include Mullah Norullah Noori, the then Taliban’s governor for northern Balkh province, Mullah Fazl Akhund, the Taliban’s deputy defence minister, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, the governor of western Herat province, former Taliban’s deputy intelligence chief Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq and military commander Mullah Mohammad Nabi.
Mutasim, who has launched efforts at reconciling Taliban leaders with the Afghan government, said the prisoner swap could help build trust and the process should continue.
“The release of prisoners, if it is from the Guantanamo camps, the Bagram jail or the Pul-i-Charkhi prison, can pave the ground for reconciliation and peace talks,” Mutasim said.
He said the Qatari leadership had played a key role in the prisoner swap, but the US president first gave credit for it to the Afghan government.
Meanwhile, the High Peace Council also welcomed the release of the five Taliban leaders from the US-run detention centre in Cuba, saying it would have a positive impact on the peace process.
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