The Afghan Government, Ready To Negotiate But Without Releasing 5,000 Taliban

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Saturday that he is ready for the start of peace negotiations between the Government of Kabul and the Taliban on the 10th, although he insisted that the release of 5,000 insurgents before the meeting is not an option . “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is ready to enter into negotiations with the Taliban group on the basis of accepted principles,” Ghani said in a speech to the nation on the occasion of the opening of the annual session of Parliament following a 45-day winter break. . According to the president, the Afghan delegation to enter into negotiations with the Taliban “will be ready by March 10” and will act under the umbrella of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to defend the “democratic values” of the country. However, Ghani insisted that he considers the Taliban’s request that 5,000 insurgent prisoners be released before the inter-Afghan negotiations begin, despite the fact that this was one of the key points signed a week ago in the historic agreement between the US and the Taliban in Doha. That agreement also included the release of a thousand prisoners from Afghan security forces, in addition to the long-awaited insurgents for the phased withdrawal of Afghanistan’s international forces in 14 months. “As president of Afghanistan, I don’t like having Taliban prisoners, but their release must be carried out based on a transparent process and a clear mechanism, so that our people will ensure that after their release they will witness a positive change and the implementation of a total ceasefire, “Ghani said. The president, who will swear his post on Monday for a second term, insisted that “a ceasefire across the country is the demand of every (…) citizen”, so they need assurances that “Taliban prisoners they will not return to the battlefield. ” THE TALIBANS INSIST THE PRISONERS Ghani’s statements come a day after the Taliban political office spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said they also held March 10 as the date to start inter-Afghan peace talks, although only if the agreement with the US was respected for the prior release of prisoners. The obstacle to the liberation of Taliban prisoners to advance the peace process adds to a rebound in fighting in the country after the week of violence reduction that preceded the historic agreement between the Taliban and the US. in Doha. A day after the signing of that agreement, Ghani had already warned that Washington has no authority to decide on the release of prisoners, and that that would be the decision of the Afghan Executive, airing the start of negotiations that are He also does not know where they will be held, despite the fact that they initially talked about the possibility of their passing in Oslo. The materialization of inter-Afghan negotiations is the next step to reach a political agreement that will allow an end to two decades of war in Afghanistan.