Russia expects Afghan Govt. to complete prisoner swap soon


KABUL:  Moscow wishes the newly arisen obstacles related to prisoner swap will not hinder the launch of intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Speaking at a briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday said his country expected that “the Afghan president’s decision on freeing the remaining militant prisoners, which was made after a Loya Jirga meeting, will be implemented soon.”

Earlier, Australia and France had asked the Afghan government not to release those militants who were involved in terrorist attacks on their nationals. Also, the government has demanded the Taliban to release Special Forces personnel if they want their remaining inmates freed.

According to Zakharova, an early launch of the intra-Afghan talks is in the interest of both the people of Afghanistan and the country’s foreign partners.

President Ashraf Ghani signed a decree last week on the release of the last group of Taliban following Loya Jirga’s decision; however, only 80 prisoners have been freed out of the total 400.

This is while regional countries continuously reiterate support for the launch of intra-Afghan talks in Qatar. Similarly, in a recent meeting of Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar with his Tajik counterpart Sirodjidin Muhriddin, the sides discussed the Afghan peace process. The neighboring country restated unwavering support for peace in Afghanistan.