US hails Loya Jirga declaration, Ghani’s decision

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): US Special Representative for Afghanistaninfo-icon Peace Zalmay Khalilzad has welcomed the Consultative Loya Jirgainfo-icon’s declaration and President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to sign a decree for the release of the remaining Talibaninfo-icon prisoners.

In a series of tweeted, the top US diplomat said: “With these bold steps, after 40 years of war, a historic opportunity for peace is now possible, one that benefits all Afghans and contributes to regional stability and global security.”

In the next few days, he expected the completion of prisoner releases, then the travel of the Afghan team to Doha, and from there the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations.

The parties would embark on a process to reach an agreement on a political roadmap and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to end the Afghan war, he wrote.

“As we have supported the Afghan people for the past 19 years, so do we now support Afghan men and womeninfo-icon to achieve the sustainable peace for which they have long yearned.”

The US sought a sovereign, unified and democratic Afghanistan that was at peace with itself and its neighbours and did not pose a threat to the worldinfo-icon, he said, concluding: “Today, we area one step closer.”

As part of the Feb. 29 peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, Kabul has to free 5,000 Taliban inmates and, in return, the militant movement released 1,000 government soldiers.

On the first day of Eidul Adah, President Ashraf Ghani suggested convening the Loya Jirga to decide the fate of 400 prisoners on a Taliban list handed to his administration.

Ghani on Sunday promised the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners, a decision that will pave the ground for the start of the intra-Afghan peace talks.

sa/mud

 

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