Our prisoners are still in Govt. custody: Taliban

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KABUL: The Taliban on Tuesday announced that the prisoner release process hadn’t completed and the group wouldn’t engage in the intra-Afghan talks unless some inmates still held by the government were released.


Mohammad Naeem Wardak, the newly-appointed spokesperson for Taliban’s Qatar Office, said talks for freeing the remaining prisoners were underway and intra-Afghan talks would begin following their release.


Naeem notified that the Taliban’s negotiating team was ready for talks.


However, Najia Anwari, spokesperson for the State Ministry for Peace, said the Afghan government team was ready for talks as the government had fulfilled all the necessary tasks and responsibilities.


She wrote on her Twitter handle that “the Taliban should assure the people of Afghanistan that they have also completed the process of releasing government forces so that there is no prisoner left with them.”


The sides are making contradictory remarks as last week the Afghan government said the release of high-value Taliban captives, except for seven whose liberty has been opposed by some countries, was finished.


Reports suggested that those seven, who killed French and Australian nationals, will instead be shifted to Qatar under conditions and will remain under supervision.


This comes as the National Security Council (NSC) had also said that the prisoner exchange process was completed and that all hurdles facing peace negotiations were removed, adding that the intra-Afghan talks should start promptly. However, the government negotiating hasn’t still departed for Qatar.