Afghan government frees 900 Taliban prisoners on last day of truce

AFP
Bagram, Afghanistan Published: May 26, 2020, 10:16 PM(IST)

REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE Photograph:( Reuters )

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The historic pause in fighting, only the second in nearly 19 years of war, has mostly held across Afghanistan, providing a rare respite from the conflict's grinding violence.

Afghan authorities freed hundreds more Taliban prisoners on Tuesday, as calls grew for the militants to extend a ceasefire on its third and final day.

The historic pause in fighting, only the second in nearly 19 years of war, has mostly held across Afghanistan, providing a rare respite from the conflict's grinding violence.

Authorities said they had released about 900 Taliban prisoners across the country on Tuesday, approximately 600 of them from the notorious Bagram jail near Kabul.

Also read: Afghan government frees 2,000 Taliban prisoners during ceasefire

The release is part of a pledge by the Afghan government to free up to 2,000 insurgent prisoners in response to the Taliban's three-day ceasefire offer, which began Sunday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Each former prisoner was given the equivalent of about $65 in Afghan currency. The buses they had boarded at the prison dropped them in Kabul, where they bid goodbyes to each other and took taxis to their homes.

The release of 900 prisoners marked "good progress," Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter.

He added the group will free a "remarkable" number of Afghan security force personnel, but did not specify when.

Afghan authorities hoped the Taliban would extend the ceasefire so delayed peace talks with the insurgents could begin, National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal said.

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