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Afghan officials primed for talks with Taliban after deal on prisoners

  • All but seven of the 5,000 prisoners whose release the Taliban had demanded as a precondition for negotiations have been freed
03 Sep 2020

(Kabul) Afghan negotiators and senior officials will fly to Doha for peace talks with the Taliban after the two sides reached a compromise over the release of prisoners, diplomatic and government sources said.

All but seven of the 5,000 prisoners whose release the Taliban had demanded as a precondition for negotiations have been freed, four government and diplomatic sources told Reuters.

National security advisor spokesman Javid Faisal confirmed that all but "a small number" of the remaining Taliban prisoners had been released, in return for the insurgent group freeing security force members in line with the government's demands.

"Diplomatic efforts are ongoing," he said in a tweet, referring to the final few prisoners who international partners objected to releasing. "We expect direct talks to start promptly."

The Taliban did not respond to a request for comment. It was not immediately clear when the talks would start.

A government source said they could begin as soon as Saturday, but a second source subsequently said that initial plans for the government delegation to fly to Doha on Thursday had been postponed.

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