Afghan elders to decide fate of 400 Taliban inmates
Taliban prisoners walk as they are in the process of being potentially released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison, on the outskirts of Kabul on July 31, 2020. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on July 31, 2020 ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners as part of a new ceasefire that could lead into long-delayed peace talks. (Courtesy: AFP / Wakil Kohsar)
Kabul: Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga, a grand assembly of the country’s elders, gathered in Kabul on Friday to decide the fate of the remaining 400 Taliban inmates in government prisons.
The gathering comprises more than 3,000 elders, chieftains and delegates from across the country, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Afghan government has declared Saturday a public holiday in Kabul and it could be extended if the Jirga continues, TOLO News reported.
The Afghan government has deployed thousands of troops for the security of the Jirga.
According to officials, the 400 prisoners are involved in major crimes and terrorist activities including deadly bombings, kidnapping and killing of government employees and civilians.
As per the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February, the Afghan government has so far released 4,917 inmates of the militant group.
The government has said that the “release will continue until the total reaches 5,100”, which is the number quoted in the agreement to facilitate the intra-Afghan dialogue and the pullout of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan to end the prolonged war in the country.
The Taliban group has however, refused to talk with the Afghan government unless all the detainees were released, including the remaining 400.
The group has so far released 1,005 government inmates.