According to the US-Taliban deal which was signed on 29th February in Qatar, the Afghan government should release up to 5000 Taliban prisoners, in exchange; the group will free 1000 prisoners of the government.
“The release of prisoners is an important step in the peace process and the reduction of violence,” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.
The US Envoy urged both the government and Taliban to accelerate prisoner releases so that to meet “targets specified in the US- Taliban agreement as soon as possible.”
“The potential for COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons poses a real threat and all the more reason to move urgently,” Khalilzad tweeted.
Meanwhile, Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the office of the National Security Council confirmed that so far the Afghan government has released 360 Taliban inmates, while the Taliban has released only 20 prisoners of the government.
“As per the decree, releases will continue across other prisons to free a total of 1,500 as part of our efforts to advance peace and fight COVID-19,” Faisal said.
The Taliban on Sunday released 20 government prisoners and handed them over to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in southern Kandahar province.
The group’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the move was taken for a “goodwill”, not in exchange for their prisoners’ release, adding more would be released but it depends on the further movement of the Afghan government.