Russia Welcomes Kabul, Taliban Beginning To Swap Prisoners - Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 28th March, 2020) Moscow welcomes the agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban to begin exchanging prisoners, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

On Thursday, Javid Faisal, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Security Council, announced that 100 prisoners will be released by March 31.

"In light of that, we welcome the Taliban movement and the Afghanistan's representatives coming to an agreement on the beginning of the release of the Taliban movement's militants in an exchange for the government forces' servicemen starting March 31," Zakharova said during a press briefing.

She added that Russia is counting on the speedy beginning of intra-Afgan talks, preparations for which are going slowly due to the lack of a single political power in Kabul and the issue of the prisoner exchange.

"Together with China, the US, [and] other international partners, Russia will assist the negotiating process," Zakharova said.

On February 29, the US and the Taliban inked a peace agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha, according to which an intra-Afghan negotiation was scheduled to begin on March 10. That, however, did not come to pass amid the dual power crisis as well as Kabul's reluctance to exchange prisoners with the Taliban. The lack of progress prompted US State Secretary Mike Pompeo to visit Afghanistan on Monday in a then-unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate the talks.