Afghan government releases 361 Taleban prisoners
Taleban did not reveal the names and identity of the prisoners they released.
The Afghanistan government has so far released over 350 Taleban prisoners out of the 5,000 it committed to free under the US-Taleban peace deal to end the 18-year-old war. The Taleban on Sunday claimed to have released 20 Afghan prisoners.
Javid Faisal, spokesman for the Afghan National Security Council, told local media in Kabul that the government has released 361 Taleban prisoners from jail and will continue to set free up to 1,500 members.
However, under the US-Taleban peace deal, the Afghan government is supposed to release 5,000 Taleban prisoners, as a confidence-building measure ahead of the intra-Afghan peace talks.
Sources said that the Taleban did not reveal the names and identity of the prisoners it claimed to have released in the southern province of Kandahar.
The Taleban has promised to release around 1,000 Afghan government troops and civilian workers from its captivity.
Welcoming the prisoner exchange, the US envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated the US deal with the Taleban, tweeted, "Both sides should accelerate efforts to meet targets specified in the agreement as soon as possible."
The release of prisoners, he added, was more important than ever with prison populations threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, neither the Afghan government nor the Taleban have made any announcement about the finalisation of their respective teams for the intra-Afghan talks yet.
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