Afghan govt, Taliban prisoners swap postponed for 3rd time


    Kabul, April 3 (IANS) Exchange of prisoners between the Afghan government and Taliban militants has been postponed for the third time, local media said in a report.

    “Taliban prisoners release process planned for Thursday has postponed and the course may kick off on Saturday,” Xinhua news agency quoted the TOLO News as saying in the report on thursday.

    The report said that after the arrival of a three-member Taliban technical delegation in Kabul on Tuesday, negotiations on the prisoners swap continued on Thursday, the third consecutive day, but no detail was immediately available on the outcome of the talks.

    The US and Taliban inked a peace deal in the Gulf state of Qatar on February 29 and the agreement required the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners.

    In exchange, the Taliban agreed for direct peace talks with the government besides releasing 1,000 Afghan security forces prisoners.

    On March 11, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to gradually release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole.

    The first batch of Taliban prisoners were expected to be released on March 14 in consideration of age, medical condition, and the remaining time of sentenced imprisonment, but their release was postponed.

    On Wednesday, Afghan officials said 100 Taliban inmates would be released on Thursday and Taliban will also free 20 Afghan soldiers.

    All Taliban prisoners, who will be released in accordance with the decree, must make a written commitment to guarantee they would not return to the battlefield.