US Expects Prisoner Release Completion, Intra-Afghan Talks In Next Few Days

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th August, 2020) The United States expects the intra-Afghan talks to commence in coming days once Kabul completes the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners, Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad has said.

On Sunday, the Loya Jirga, a council of Afghan tribal leaders, passed a resolution to green-light the release of the remaining Taliban captives in a bid to kick-start the long-awaited peace talks.

"We welcome the Afghan Loya Jirga's declaration and President [Ashraf] Ghani's decision to sign the decree ordering the release of the remaining prisoners ... In the next few days, we expect the completion of prisoner releases, then travel of the Islamic Republic team to Doha, & from there the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations," Khalilzad tweeted late on Sunday.

According to the US envoy, "a historic opportunity for peace" in the war-stricken country has emerged.

"The parties will embark on a process to reach an agreement on a political roadmap & a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to end the Afghan war," the diplomat said.

The United States, he went on, "seeks a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan" that will not pose a threat to the world, and the prisoner release will bring everyone "one step closer" to this goal.

The prisoner release is a part of the US-Taliban February deal. While setting free most of the 5,000 militants on the list, the Afghan government held the 400 in question, arguing that their crimes were too serious. The radical movement, on its part, claims to have freed all the 1,000 government prisoners.