Taliban's List Of Prisoners Has 600 Blacklisted Insurgents, Pakistani Fighters - Source

KABUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th July, 2020) The Afghan government is hanging back on releasing 600 of prisoners on the Taliban's list under the US-negotiated deal due to the fact that some of them are on the US and Afghan security blacklists and others are Pakistani fighters, a knowledgeable source in the government told Sputnik on Tuesday.

The Afghan government and the Taliban committed to releasing each other's prisoners 5,000 and 1,000, respectively as part of an agreement negotiated by the United States in the Qatari capital of Doha on February 29, with the outlook to launch intra-Afghan talks. The initial deadline was March 10, but extensions applied due to an internal power crisis in Kabul and the coronavirus pandemic. The Taliban have recently handed Kabul a list of additional 600 detainees to be released.

"There are 250 of them are on the US blacklist, another 155 of them are Pakistani fighters who were arrested in face-to-face clashes with the Afghan forces, and the rest are on the national directorate of security blacklist," the source said.

According to the source, the United States is also opposed to the release of all Taliban prisoners, even though this might delay the intra-Afghan talks.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in turn, came up with a statement, insisting on the release of all listed designated prisoners as a pre-requisite of inter-Afghan talks.

"There are no prisoners in our list to be blacklisted. And we have promised and agreed with the United States that the word blacklist does not make sense now," Mujahid told journalists.

The exchange of prisoners, ceasefire and launch of intra-Afghan talks as components of the US-mediated peace deal are expected to pave the way for ending the almost two-decade long confrontation between Kabul and the Taliban.