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Consultative Loya Jirga agreed with conditional release of Taliban 400 prisoners

Some delegates of the Loya Jirga, the grand assembly, said that decisions of past jirgas have not been implemented, but the decisions from this jirga should be.

Also, the nation’s achievements should be maintained in the peace process, said delegates.

They said that last year’s Jirga asked for a ceasefire, but it was not implemented.

A conditional release of almost 400 Taliban prisoners was one of the key demands of the jirga delegates. 

“The views that we shared in last (year’s) Jirga–that a ceasefire should be announced with the Taliban to ensure peace–was not implemented,” said Safi Gul Mohammadi, a Jirga delegate. 

“The name of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan should be preserved. Women’s rights and human rights should be preserved. The last 18 years’ achievements should be preserved. All these were decided in the committees,” said Mir Haidar Nazari, a Jirga delegate. 

The delegates are discussing the release of the prisoners and consulting with Afghanistan’s negotiation team about expectations of the team in the intra-Afghan talks. 

According to a letter handed to all the Jirga delegates, on the topic of the prisoner release they have been given two options: the talks might begin if they agree on the release of the prisoners or violence might continue if the prisoners are not released. 

The 50 committees have been discussing the topic of the prisoners for the last two days, according to Jirga officials.  

“These 400 Taliban prisoners might be accused of crimes and cruel people, but where is the guarantee for the 4,600 other prisoners who have already been released?” asked Mayar Raheen, a university lecturer. 

“Most of the delegates were in favor of the release of the prisoners in order to ensure enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said Manizha, a Jirga delegate. 

Meanwhile, Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in an address to a group of his supporters on Friday said that the government has avoided the release of the Hizb-e-islami leader over the last three years and now it is hesitating to release key Taliban inmates. 

He blamed the government for disrespecting the US-Taliban deal and the Hizb-e-Islami party.  

Hekmatyar said that accusing some Taliban inmates of crimes is an excuse and that the government is releasing the Taliban prisoners at the request of the US.