- The Taliban have said that once the prisoners are released they would start peace talks within a week
(Kabul) Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani on Monday issued a decree to release the final batch of prisoners demanded by the Taliban as a condition to move to peace talks, sources told Reuters.
"It is signed," a presidential palace source said on Monday evening, a day after a grand assembly recommended Ghani release 400 'hardcore' prisoners so that peace talks could begin in Doha.
The Taliban have said that once the prisoners are released they would start peace talks within a week after months of delays since the United States signed a troop withdrawal deal in February.
Afghanistan's Grand Assembly (Loya Jirga) announced on Sunday its decision to free 400 Taliban prisoners to remove last hurdle in intra-Afghan peace talks, media has reported.
In February, a deal was reached between the United States and the Taliban in which it was agreed that 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released from Afghan prisons before peace talks between the militant group and the government. The government has so far released 4,600 prisoners.
The Loya Jirga, which was attended by more than 3,000 elders, community leaders and politicians, stated that intra-Afghan peace talks should begin immediately. It said that foreign prisoners, if any, should be handed over to their respective nations after receiving credible guarantees from their governments.
The jirga also decided that the freed prisoners should not return to the battlefield while permanent ceasefire should be imposed.