Western powers support Afghanistan's decision to not release Taliban prisoners

WION Web Team Kabul, Afghanistan Jun 20, 2020, 06.13 PM(IST)

Taliban prisoners Photograph:( Reuters )

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Sources have revealed that even the US government raised concerns over some of the names in the list of the 5,000 prisoners to be released, as some of them are responsible for violent attacks.

Afghanistan government is refusing to release Taliban prisoners, and western powers are supporting this decision of the Afghanistan government, citing security issues.

Afghanistan government has decided to not allow the release of hundreds of Taliban prisoners, who are responsible for some of the most violent attacks.

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This demand from Taliban is one of the major and last demands from Taliban in resolving the intra-Afghan peace negotiations in Qatar aimed at ending more than 18 years of war in a US-brokered peace process.

"The contentious part right now is the prisoners issue," a senior government source told a media house. Two European diplomats, an Asian diplomat and another Afghan official confirmed his account.

"There are some dangerous Taliban fighters named in the list, and releasing them is literally crossing a red line," said a senior European diplomat.

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"Some NATO members find it extremely uncomfortable to support the release of Taliban prisoners who were behind large-scale suicide attacks on minority groups and on expats."

The Taliban started a withdrawal agreement with the help of the US. However, the talks were delayed as the Taliban group asked 5,000 prisoners to be released, which the Afghanistan government denied.

Sources have revealed that even the US government raised concerns over some of the names in the list of the 5,000 prisoners to be released, as some of them are responsible for violent attacks. NATO and the Afghan government have objected in setting these prisoners free.

The sources said that if all prisoners walked free, including those accused of killing many civilians in some of Afghanistan's bloodiest attacks, it would give the impression the insurgent group had the upper hand over the government while negotiations got under way.

Taliban, however, has declined that the group has asked for release of high-profile prisoners. "There are no such people ... these are just excuses to create barriers against the peace process," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Afghanistan has released over 3,000  prisoners already, and is ready to release all other prisoners, excusing few hundreds. Taliban, too, has released some prisoners.