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Govt, Taliban to start prisoner swap on March 31

Govt, Taliban to start prisoner swap on March 31

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Mar 26, 2020 - 10:02

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): After weeks of dithering on the issue, the government and the Talibaninfo-icon have agreed to start swapping prisoners on March 31.

Technical teams from both sides held a video conference in the presence of Qatar, US and Red Cross representatives on prisoner releases on Wednesday.

Spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Doha Suhail Shaheen tweeted that the technical teams held a video conference that lasted four hours.

He wrote US, Qatar and ICRC teams also attended the video conference and discussed in detail the prisoner release process.

They decided the gradual process of exchanging prisoners would start on March 31. The Taliban would send a verification team to Bagram prison for identification, confirmation and release of prisoners.

The Peace Initial Contact Group (PICG) met virtually with the Taliban and discussed initial technical steps for prisoner releases, tweeted the National Security Council (NSC).

“To carry out further discussions, a Taliban team will meet with the government face to face in Afghanistaninfo-icon in coming days,” it added.

US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, Qatari Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution Dr. Mutlaq al-Qahtani and ICRC head of delegation Juan Pedro Schaerer also attended the meeting.

Khalilzad said: “The second technical meeting on prisoner exchanges between the Afghan government and Taliban took place today (Wednesday), again by video conference.”

He informed the two sides agreed prisoner releases by both sides would start on March 31. “This is a positive development. Technical meetings will continue to make sure the process goes smoothly,”

sa/mud

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