The government says 600 Taliban prisoners charged with serious offenses will not be released, but the Taliban’s political office in Doha says that when a political agreement is reached between the group and the United States, the issue of Taliban prisoners’ crimes will be eliminated.
Mohammad Nabi Omari, a member of the Taliban’s political bureau and negotiating team, said: “Once a political agreement has been reached, there is no need to review the prisoners’ files and if there is, we are ready. Indirectly, it is said to the Afghan government and Dr. Khalilzad to provide evidence about prisoners.”
The Taliban’s political bureau says it has received a list of 24 people from the government, said to be foreign nationals, and the government will not release them, but the Taliban say at least 12 people on the list have Afghan IDs, but the Taliban confirmed the possibility that some of them may have dual citizenship.
Mohammad Nabi Omari added: “By creating fake cases, some high-ranking figures of the Islamic Emirate or commanders are among the prisoners that the Kabul administration does not want to be released.”
The presidency, however, says the government has released 4,400 Taliban detainees and that Intra-Afghan dialogues must be started immediately.
“So far, 4,400 Taliban prisoners have been released and we want talks to begin immediately. Attacks by the Taliban have slowed the process, and the blame for the war lies with the Taliban,” said Sediq Sediqqi, the president’s spokesman.
At the same time, the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul tweeted urging the Afghan leaders to form a new government and a High Council of Reconciliation as soon as possible, complete the prisoner exchange and start negotiations between the Afghans.
“Our negotiating team is ready to talk to the Taliban, and the Taliban must be prepared, and the formation of the High Reconciliation Council will be announced soon,” said Feraydoun Khawzoon, spokesman for the High National Reconciliation Council.
The government and the Taliban also disagree on the number of prisoners released. The government says it has released 4,400 Taliban prisoners and only half of the government prisoners have been released by the Taliban, but the Taliban political bureau says 4,000 Taliban prisoners and more than 800 government prisoners have been released.