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‘Taliban prisoners will be freed if talks start, violence reduced’

The deal would contribute to bringing stability back to Afghanistan and promote regional and international security.

SNS | New Delhi |

Taliban prisoners will be released gradually but only if the intra-Afghan negotiations begin and there was a significant reduction in violence in the country, according to the presidential advisor on Monday.

Presidential advisor Waheed Omer made the remarks while adding that no Taliban prisoner would be released without a guarantee of the two stated conditions, TOLO News reported.

Omer said, “We are reviewing the Taliban prisoner list. The release of the 5,000 prisoners will not take place at once. It will take time so that we can learn about the crimes for which each has been imprisoned”.

Last week, the Taliban has conducted 95 attacks against Afghan forces in 10 provinces in the past 24 hours, despite the peace deal the militants signed with the US last month to reduce violence in the war-torn country.

On Wednesday, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has pardoned thousands of Taliban prisoners in a key preliminary step to intra-Afghan talks between a government delegation and the extremist group.

The release of the prisoners is part of a confidence-building measure to pave the way for the opening of direct talks between the government and the insurgents, after talks with both sides and the United States individually.

According to the deal, the US is going to reduce its troops to 8,600 in Afghanistan within 135 days, and will, together with its NATO allies, completely pull out the remaining one in the following 14 months if the Taliban stuck to its commitments.

The deal would contribute to bringing stability back to Afghanistan and promote regional and international security.

More than 10,000 civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan’s war last year, the United Nations announced Saturday, as a historic partial truce kicked in across the country. India did not recognise Afghanistan diplomatically when Taliban was ruling the country from 1996 to 2002.