The Afghan government has agreed to release 400 “hard-core” prisoners as part of moves towards peace talks with the Taliban militants, and an official said on Friday that 80 of these convicts had been freed so far.
“France is particularly concerned by the presence, among the individuals liable to be released, of several terrorists convicted of killing French citizens in Afghanistan,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Last week Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged US President Donald Trump to ensure an Afghan soldier who carried out an insider attack and killed three Australian soldiers was not part of the group of 400 Taliban prisoners.
Officials from the Department of Defence contacted the families of the three Australian soldiers earlier this month, warning the soldier, Hekmatullah, would likely be one of the prisoners released.
Hekmatullah has spent seven years in prison after killing Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Sapper James Martin and Private Robert Poate in August 2012 while they were playing cards.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds raised the matter with their US counterparts in Washington during talks late last month, and Morrison has
This comes after last Sunday’s decision by the Loya Jirga, or grand council, in Kabul, that the remaining 400 controversial prisoners be released in accordance with the Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban in February this year.
Following Sunday’s resolution, President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree ordering the release of the prisoners so that intra-Afghan talks could start as soon as possible.