Weekly Peace News Round-up

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Reviewing recent developments over the past week in terms of the peace process in Afghanistan, it seems sluggish progress is being made by the sides.

The prisoner release process has arrived at a deadlock yet again as the Afghan government – despite accepting the Loya Jirga’s decision – has remained reluctant to free the remaining 320 contentious Taliban inmates. Some reasons include a couple of foreign countries’ objections and the government’s justification that the Taliban haven’t released its security forces too.

The Taliban, on the other hand, continue to dismiss the government as a ‘puppet’ regime and refuse to sit on the negotiating table with groups representing it. Deeming themselves the most righteous, they completely deny that their remaining prisoners were involved in any drug trade or heavy crimes.

Meanwhile, the fed-up Afghan nation, civil society activists and youth call for an immediate ceasefire and launch of the intra-Afghan talks, and solution to the newly arisen obstacles to the much-anticipated talks.

The international community also calls upon the warring sides to reduce violence and not delay the all-Afghan dialogue because there is ‘no legitimate reason’ to do so. Foreign countries such as Russia expects the government would swiftly implement its decision on releasing the remaining Taliban inmates.

In the meantime, the violence rages unabated. Clashes happen frequently across the country among the Taliban and security forces while targeted attacks – sticky bombs, targeted killings and IED blasts – take lives of civilians and security personnel alike.