Freed Taliban inmates returning to battlefield: Abdullah


KABUL: With the negotiators of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban yet to make the desired headway in the intra-Afghan talks, the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Chairman Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday claimed that the freed Taliban prisoners were returning to the battlefield to fight against the Afghan government.

Despite acknowledging that discussions with the Taliban in Qatar had so far been positive, Abdullah told an online conference with the US Council on Foreign Relations that some, though not the majority, of the 5,000 Taliban prisoners released by the government had resumed the fight.

The development comes as 5,000 Taliban inmates were released by the Afghan government as a condition for the launch of intra-Afghan peace talks – that got underway on Sept. 12 – in Doha of Qatar.

“I do know that some have returned to the battlefield, which is a violation of the agreement that they had made,” Abdullah stated, referring to the US-Taliban deal signed in last February.

Going with the flow, he also raised concern over the increased level of violence in Afghanistan. “Unfortunately, so far, the level of violence is very high and to a level that is not acceptable for the people.”

He called on the US, which started the peace process with its own deal with the Taliban, and Pakistan, which maintains ties to the insurgents, to pressure them to agree to a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Abdullah informed of his planned visit to Pakistan in the coming days – his first trip to the country since 2008.