Afghan government frees 2,000 Taliban prisoners during ceasefire

WION Web Team
Kabul, Afghanistan Published: May 25, 2020, 11.01 PM(IST)

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The pause in fighting, only the second of its kind in Afghanistan's nearly 19-year-old war, was for the most part holding across the country on day two after the government welcomed the truce by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 Taliban inmates.

Afghan authorities released 100 Taliban prisoners Monday as part of the government's response to a surprise, three-day ceasefire the insurgents called to mark the Eid al-Fitr festival.

The pause in fighting, only the second of its kind in Afghanistan's nearly 19-year-old war, was for the most part holding across the country on day two after the government welcomed the truce by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 Taliban inmates.

Also read: Afghan president Ghani pledges to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners

President Ashraf Ghani said his administration was also ready to hold peace talks with the Taliban, seen as key to ending the war in the impoverished country.

"The government of Afghanistan has today released 100 Taliban prisoners from Bagram prison," National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal said.

He said the prisoner release was to "help the peace process" and will continue until 2,000 prisoners are freed.

Faisal said the authorities plan to release insurgent prisoners in batches of 100 daily.

"We hope this will eventually lead to a lasting peace that the people of Afghanistan so much desire and deserve," he said.

The current ceasefire is the first initiated by the Taliban. The only other comparable pause came over Eid in 2018, and was first offered by Ghani.

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