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US wants more prisoners freed ahead of talks

US wants more prisoners freed ahead of talks

Jun 02, 2020 - 15:11

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Ashraf Ghani administration and the Talibaninfo-icon would soon enter peace negotiations, hopes the US special envoy for Afghanistaninfo-icon reconciliation.

"The road ahead...will have challenges and difficulties, but we’re optimistic that finally we are moving forward to the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations," Zalmay Khalilzad said.

He told journalists in Washington on Monday that besides dealing with other problems, they were focused on setting the date and choosing the location for intra-Afghan talks.

Since the US-Taliban peace deal of February 29, the diplomat said, said Kabul had released up to 2,500 Taliban prisoners. In return, the have freed more than 400 government detainees.

In line with the agreement, the United States will withdraw troops out of Afghanistan by mid-2021 in exchange for the insurgents' commitments to keep out Al-Qaeda and other foreign extremists.

More prisoner releases were needed before intra-Afghan talks could get under way, believed Khalilzad, who acknowledged the level of violence had been low since the three-day Eid ceasefire.

He claimed there had been significant progress as the Afghan government stepped up prisoner releases, a process that could lead to the long-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud


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