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  HOME PAGE 25/05/2020 19:39 
07.04.2020 14:57 News >> Taliban Halt 'Fruitless' Prisoner Swap Talks With Kabul

Taliban Halt 'Fruitless' Prisoner Swap Talks With Kabul

Move comes days after group threatened to scale up attacks in Afghanistan.

The Taliban on Tuesday halted "fruitless meetings" with the Afghan government on a prisoner exchange, dealing a blow to hopes for intra-Afghan peace talks.
In a series of tweets, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the group's Qatar office, rebuked the Afghan government for delaying "under one pretext or another" the release of an estimated 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
"We sent a technical team of the Prisoner's Commission to Kabul for verification and identification of our prisoners as release of prisoners was to start as per the signed [U.S.-Taliban] agreement and the promise made (to us)," he said.
"But, unfortunately, their release has been delayed under one pretext or another till now. Therefore, our technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings with relevant sides starting from tomorrow."
The announcement comes days after the group warned it would resume full-scale attacks if the Doha peace agreement was not honored.
"The American side and their internal and external military supporters have committed several violations, including not releasing the 5,000 prisoners, carrying out attacks on Taliban centers and raids and bombing of civilian settlements," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in statement Sunday.
Until intra-Afghan talks lead to a separate agreement with Afghan leaders, the Taliban can attack the Kabul administration's military centers but have refrained from doing so, he said.
On Monday, a close aide of President Ashraf Ghani said the prisoner swap was being delayed because of the Taliban's insistence on the release of 15 top commanders convicted of major terror attacks.
"We are ready to free some 400 prisoners right away, but they [the Taliban] are insisting on the release of 15 commanders who have the blood of innocent people on their hands," said Abdul Mateen Baig, who heads Afghanistan's Independent Directorate of Local Governance.
Meanwhile, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), rejected the Taliban's "baseless" claims and said the American forces had upheld the military terms of the Doha agreement.
"USFOR-A has upheld, and continues to uphold, the military terms of the U.S.-TB [the Taliban] agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless. USFOR-A has been clear -- we will defend our ANDSF partners if attacked, in compliance with the agreement," he said in a tweet on Sunday.
"The TB must reduce violence. A reduction in violence is the will of the Afghan people & necessary to allow the political process to work toward a settlement suitable for all Afghans. We once again call on all parties to focus their efforts on the global pandemic of COVID-19." -



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