Tag Archives: Afghanista

Just in: Afghanistan leader vow to set 2000 Taliban inmates free


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has started the process to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a “goodwill gesture”, his spokesperson said, in a move that came after the government welcomed the armed group’s surprise announcement of a three-day ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The decision to release the prisoners was taken “to ensure success of the peace process”, Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the ceasefire appeared to hold as there were no reports of clashes between the Taliban and Afghan forces by the end of the first day on Sunday.

Ghani said a government delegation was “ready to immediately start the peace talks” with the Taliban.

Government negotiators would be headed by Ghani’s former rival Abdullah Abdullah after the two signed a power-sharing deal last week that ended a months-long political crisis.

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Pres. Ghani today initiated a process to release up to 2000 Taliban prisoners as a good will gesture in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire during Eid.The AFG Gov is extending the offer of peace and is taking further steps to ensure success of the peace process.

A US-Taliban agreement signed in February in Qatar’s capital, Doha, stipulated that the Afghan government would release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners while the Taliban would free about 1,000 Afghan security forces personnel.

The prisoner swap was mentioned in the agreement as a “confidence-building measure” before long-awaited peace talks between the government and Taliban.

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Before Sunday’s announcement, Kabul had already released about 1,000 Taliban inmates while the Taliban had freed roughly 300 members of the Afghan security forces, according to reports.

The Taliban said they were committed to freeing prisoners, but reminded Kabul that the agreement was to “release 5,000” of their members as agreed with the US in Doha.

“This process should be completed in order to remove hurdles in the way of commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said on Twitter.

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The Taliban’s offer of a ceasefire came just days after leader Haibatullah Akhunzada urged Washington “not to waste” the opportunity offered by the Doha agreement that set the stage for the withdrawal of US troops from the country after more than 18 years.

US Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who brokered the February 29 agreement, said the ceasefire was “a momentous opportunity that should not be missed” while pledging that the US would “do its part to help”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also hailed the ceasefire, but said in a statement on Sunday that he expected “the Taliban to adhere to their commitment not to allow released prisoners to return to the battlefield”.

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He also urged the two sides to avoid escalating violence after Eid, the festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has made it a priority to end the country’s longest war and, in a bid to pull out foreign forces, US officials have been pushing the Taliban and government leaders to hold peace talks.

Analysts, however, say the Taliban has been emboldened by the agreement with the US, and attacks by the group have continued since the signing.

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War-weary residents in the capital, Kabul, expressed relief after the ceasefire was announced.

In a similar holiday truce in 2018, there were unprecedented scenes of fighters from opposite sides embracing and taking selfies.


#Newsworthy…

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Bandits kill 8 Muslims in Afghanistan Mosque attack.


Gunmen opened fire in a mosque in central Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, killing eight worshippers, who are breaking their Ramadan fast, wounding five others, officials said.

“Unknown gunmen fired on people praying inside a mosque during iftar (referring to the meal eaten to break daytime fasting) time,’’ said Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the Governor of Parwan province, during the Islamic holy month.

The Ministry of Interior confirmed the attack in Parwan’s provincial capital Charekar, blaming it on the insurgent Taliban.

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The Taliban denied responsibility and said Afghan security forces were to blame.

The United Nations has warned of an alarming uptick in violence against civilians in Afghanistan.

A shocking attack on a Kabul maternity ward last week killed 24 people, including newborn babies.

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Violence increased around the country even after a Feb. 29 U.S.-Taliban pact on the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

Afghan security forces, on Tuesday, clashed with Taliban fighters around the city of Kunduz, a strategically important centre that has been one of the Taliban’s main targets and which the group has briefly captured twice in recent years.

Security forces largely repelled the Taliban offensive with the help of air support.

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Assadullah Khalid, acting Minister of Defence, said during a visit to the city that more than 50 insurgents and eight security force members had been killed.

The Taliban have rejected repeated calls for a ceasefire by the Afghan government.

They deny any involvement in the maternity ward attack and the U.S. believes the Islamic State was responsible.

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The U.S. has sent special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, to Doha and Kabul to press the Afghan government and the Taliban to start stalled peace talks.

Khalilzad has said he will push for a reduction in violence during the trip.


#Newsworthy…

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