Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar office, in a tweet on Wednesday night said that the Taliban will release the remaining government prisoners–of the 1,000 pledged–by Eid to show “goodwill.”
“The other side must also complete the process of releasing the pledged 5,000 detainees in accordance with the Doha Agreement, and the list, in order to facilitate the start of intra-Afghan talks after Eid,” Shaheen said.
25 government forces detainees were released by the Taliban in Baghlan and Logar provinces and were sent to their families, Shaheen also tweeted on Wednesday.
Under the US-Taliban peace deal that was signed in Doha, the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban members, of which it has so far released more than 4,400. And the Taliban would release 1,000, of which it has released over 800.
The prisoner exchange was a provision in the agreement intended as a confidence-building measure that would pave the way for negotiations.
On Tuesday, the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire during Eid al-Adha ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations that are expected in the coming weeks.
The group called on its fighters to avoid attacking Afghan forces and to not enter government-controlled areas. This is the third ceasefire in the country since June 2019 when the group announced a three-day truce for Eid.
US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson in a tweet on Tuesday night welcomed the announcements of the three-day ceasefire this week during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
Also, NATO in a tweet welcomed the ceasefire announcement by the Taliban and Afghan government, saying: “It is an important step in the Afghan peace process that must lead to the earliest possible start of intra-Afghan negotiations.”
The Afghan government welcomes the Taliban’s ceasefire announcement, said presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi after the Taliban announcement.
“The ceasefire announcement is a key step, but the people of Afghanistan want an enduring ceasefire and the start of direct peace talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban,” he added.
Sediqqi said that President Ghani has ordered Afghan forces to observe the three-day ceasefire and avoid any operation against the Taliban “unless they violate the truce.”