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Khalilzad-Taliban meeting fails to resolve prisoner issue

Recent meeting between US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leaders in Qatar failed to resolve the issue of certain prisoners which the Afghan government refuses to release, sources close to the group said on Saturday.

The Afghan government has released around 4,000 Taliban prisoners as part of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban in February that calls for release of 5,000 prisoners before intra-Afghan negotiations.

However, the government refuses to free prisoners accused of some of Afghanistan’s most violent attacks, and would release an alternative set of prisoners.

Meanwhile, US Charge d’affaires Ross Wilson on Saturday expressed hope that intra-Afghan talks would begin soon.

He said that Afghan authorities have been “extraordinarily courageous” in moving forward with prisoner releases.

“Many of those released are not nice people. They clearly were at least engaged in warfare against the Afghan people or certainly were accused and convinced of that,” Wilson said answering questions as he went live on Facebook on the occasion of US Independence Day.

Wilson said that intra-Afghan talks are delayed because of violence and the issue of prisoners.

He also said that the US won’t leave Afghanistan if the Taliban don’t live up to their commitments.