• publish: 3 September 2020
  • time: 3:53 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 15194

Kabul transfers 7 Taliban prisoners to Qatar

Afghanistan will transfer seven ‘hardcore’ prisoners to Qatar, officials from the Afghan government and members of the Taliban told Reuters on Thursday.

According to one official, the prisoners would be released soon although government did not want to free them on the grounds that they had killed foreign soldiers.

The officials told Reuters that “they will be shifted to Doha”. 

This comes after weeks of uncertainty around the release of the final 320 controversial prisoners. 

The US, Australia and France had all requested some prisoners remain in custody after having killed their nationals. 

This week, government resumed its prisoner release program and freed 200 of the remaining 320 prisoners and on Wednesday reports indicated the rest would be freed soon. 

The prisoner issue has created a stumbling block in the way of peace talks as the Taliban has demanded the release of 5,000 listed prisoners. 

In the past two months, President Ashraf Ghani has freed over 5,000 prisoners but held back on 400 initially. 

In the past two weeks, however, that number has come down and only 120 prisoners remain in prison. 

Meanwhile, all indications now point towards the Afghan peace talks team leaving this week for Doha – where the Taliban has its political office. 

Earlier Thursday, Masood Stanekzai, the head of the negotiating team, said on Twitter that talks would start “soon”. 

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