Some of the nearly 3,400 delegates of the Loya Jirga, the grand assembly, admitted that they have no information about the identity of the 400 high-value Taliban prisoners which they decided to release.
The delegates said that they asked Jirga officials to provide information on the identity of the prisoners but it did not happen.
“We don’t know how they have been selected. We did not receive the list. We don’t know who we are releasing. We don’t know their names. It was already determined whether we support or oppose it. They put the responsibility of their release on us,” said Halima, a Jirga delegate.
“We were given general information. For instance, we were told that 300 of them are suicide bombers, some of them are smugglers… We were not told about them one-by-one,” said Farida Ahmadi, a Jirga delegate.
“No names were given to us. We don’t know the nature of their crimes…We don’t know who is being released,” said Khatira, a Jirga delegate.
Other delegates said that the heads of the committees of the Jirga did not provide information about the identity of the prisoners when they were asked by members.
“Unfortunately, the government didn’t make it clear to the delegates for a decision regarding this,” said Khodadad Sultani, a Jirga delegate.
“Our friends’ view was that their identities should be disclosed and should be shared on social media so that everyone would know who they are,” said Fazl-Ul-Haq Mohammadi, a delegate of the Jirga.
President Ghani on Saturday said that the 400 prisoners are Afghan citizens, but some delegates said keeping the identity of the prisoners unknown is questionable.
“It was a political decision and we said that it will provide the way for peace if the 400 prisoners are released,” said Rajab Ali Ibrahimi, a Jirga delegate.
“We judged based on the information provided to us by the media. We were the judges who did not know the crime of our suspects,” said Abdul Hameed, a Jirga delegate.
According to government data, 156 of them have been sentenced to death, 105 of them are accused of murder, 34 of them are accused of kidnaping that led to murder, 51 of them are accused of drug smuggling, 44 of them are on the blacklist of the Afghan government and its allies, 6 of them are accused of other crimes, 4 of them have unspecified crimes.