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Taliban reject offer to change prisoners list

Taliban Reject Offer to Change Prisoners List

KABUL – Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar on Thursday pressed the Taliban to provide an alternative list of prisoners to release them instead of nearly 600 who face serious charges.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the offer and said the Taliban would not give up their demand for the release of all those mentioned in the list already shared with the United States during peace negotiations.
“We are asking the Kabul administration to release our prisoners but want it not to create problems for the peace process. We want the US to honor its commitment regarding the release of 5,000 prisoners in accordance with the agreement,” Mujahid told in a statement.
Earlier Atmar told reporters in Kabul that the Afghan government has released 4,400 Taliban prisoners so far but the government has refused to release 600 who have “serious issues.”
“Release of 4,400 Taliban prisoners is a big progress and there is no justification to delay negotiations among Afghans,” he said.
“The US and the Taliban had agreed on 5,000 prisoners but there is no agreement on 5,000 names,” the Afghan foreign minister said.
However, the Taliban spokesperson dismissed the notion as false and said the US and the Taliban had signed the agreement in February after agreement on the prisoners.
Mujahid said the Americans had arrested all the Taliban and had also established Bagram prison where they had lodged most of the prisoners.
“All our people had been captured during the fighting. They are prisoners of war and face no criminal charges,” he said, rejecting the government’s claim that the Taliban prisoners are charged with heinous crimes.
Earlier, Javid Faisal, spokesperson for the Office of the National Security Council, claimed that there are 592 convicted Taliban on the Doha Taliban’s list of 5,000 that have serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, abducting citizens, sexual assault, stoning of women, assassinations, and other “haq-ul-abd” (human rights) cases.
Faisal said the government has given the Taliban the choice to submit to the Afghan authorities another 592 names for consideration for release, adding the ball is on the Taliban court.
The Taliban spokesperson accused the Afghan government of “creating hurdles” for the intra-Afghan dialogue, which should have been started 10 days after signing of the US-Taliban deal on Feb. 29.
Mujahid said that the part of the deal about the withdrawal of troops and vacating five bases has been implemented by the US, but the process of the release of the prisoners has not yet been completed.
“Unfortunately the Kabul administration has created obstacles and it is also the responsibility of the US side which had promised to secure release of the prisoners,” he said.
(Sahar News)

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