According to Khawzon: “All obstacles ahead of the intra-Afghan talks have been removed. The prisoner swap process will be completed soon. After the completion of the process, the talks will start.”
Other HCNR officials meanwhile said that if the remaining 120 prisoners are released on Wednesday a negotiating team could leave for Doha on Thursday.
This latest development comes a day after the Afghan government released 200 of the 320 hardcore Taliban prisoners, which has been a stumbling block in the way of peace talks.
In addition, President Ashraf Ghani met with the peace talks team in Kabul on Wednesday morning.
HCNR Chairman Abdullah Abdullah, and Head of Negotiating Team Masoom Stanekzai were also in attendance.
Ghani told the team: “I am pleased that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has reached this critical stage of peace as a result of its continuous efforts and you, as a united and cohesive team, on behalf of the people and government of Afghanistan, are beginning peace talks with the Taliban.”
Ghani assured them that they had the full support of government and the people of Afghanistan and said the team’s “strength in diversity, unity and coordination,” was testimony to the strength of the country’s democracy and diversity.
“Our national charter, which is the constitution, sets the boundaries for all of us,” he added.
“Our ulema, women and youth each have their own national and political weight in the composition of the peace negotiating team and they will represent each and every section of our society well, because it is an absolute civic and national team,” he said.
Ghani also thanked Abdullah for having successfully led the recent Peace Consultative Loya Jirga.
“In the presence of national, regional and international consensus, our goal is a prosperous, free, united, independent and peaceful Afghanistan,” he said.
“The main goal of our delegation is to end the violence, because the people want lasting peace and the preservation of the values of the new society,” he added.
Ghani stressed that government had fulfilled all its commitments in the peace process that the international community had hoped for and that the release of Taliban prisoners was a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to peace.
Abdullah meanwhile said: “You have the strong support of the Government and people of Afghanistan and will continue to work for national sovereignty, national values and national interests during the negotiations.”
He also pointed out that the team’s composition represented the diversity of the people of Afghanistan.
Abdullah said the Afghan government has shown its commitment to the peace process, because the release of Taliban prisoners had not been an easy decision to make.
“You have a difficult task and we are all united to achieve a dignified and lasting peace,” he told the negotiating team.
However, he made it clear that government is strongly committed to peace and that the Taliban must also show its commitment in this regard.
In conclusion, Ghani said the people of Afghanistan hoped an agreement would bring a reduction in violence and a permanent ceasefire so that lasting and dignified peace can be achieved as soon as possible.