July 26, 2021

Taliban Withdraw Kabul Negotiating Team After Release Failure



The Taliban announced on Tuesday the withdrawal of their delegation in Kabul after the failure of the negotiations for the release of 5,000 imprisoned insurgents, assuring that the Afghan government and the United States intentionally delayed the release, violating the historic Doha agreement, signed last 29 of February.

“Under the agreement, Islamic Emirates prisoners (as the Taliban call themselves) should have been released long ago and the path for intra-Afghan talks should also be paved, but the relevant parties (Kabul and the United States) intentionally delayed the releasing our prisoners and violating the agreement, “Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement released Tuesday night.

For this reason, the Taliban “are immediately withdrawing their technical team from Kabul” where several meetings have been held with the Afghan government to coordinate the releases.

The government, for its part, assured that the talks “had entered an important phase before liberation. Withdrawing from the talks at this time indicates a lack of seriousness about peace,” Javid Faisal, spokesman for the Council of National Security of the country.

However, the government is “still committed” to the search for peace, he noted.

The head of the Independent Directorate of Local Government, Matin Bek, said on Monday that the Afghan government is ready to release “400 prisoners, but it is the Taliban who do not want to start.”

According to Bek, the Taliban insist on the release of 15 Taliban commanders whose release would entail “serious problems” because they have participated in major attacks, and their return could also serve to strengthen the insurgents’ fighting fronts.

The Taliban rejected this claim. “It is not true that these 15 prisoners that we want to be released first are involved in major attacks,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Efe.

“These 15 prisoners that we want to be released first, are selected from the list of 5,000 prisoners and after their release, these 15 will help our delegation in the Pul-e-Charkhi and Bagram prisons, where a large part of the Taliban, to identify and verify the remaining prisoners, “he said.

These 15 people will remain in Kabul until the end of the liberation process, Shaheen stressed, viewing the government’s attitude as “a clear violation of the agreement.”

Shaheen recalled that the intra-Afghan talks are the essential step in discussing the ceasefire and a lasting political solution to 19 years of war, a process that “will not begin until these 5,000 prisoners are released” under the agreement between the United States and the Taliban. .

The “technical” delegation made up of three insurgents who tried to negotiate the details of the liberation of 5,000 Taliban, arrived in Kabul on March 31, a historic gesture as it was the first such Taliban visit in 19 years of war.

This process, which also includes the release of a thousand prisoners of the Afghan security forces in insurgent custody, is part of the agreement reached in Doha between the Taliban and the United States on February 29, by which the US committed to the withdrawal of foreign troops in 14 months.

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