No intra-Afghan talks until prisoners’ release: Taliban

KABUL (HRNW) – The Taliban will not participate in intra-Afghan talks until roughly 5,000 of its prisoners are released, its spokesman said on Monday.

“If our 5,000 prisoners – 100 or 200 more or less does not matter – do not get released there will be no intra-Afghan talks,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by phone.

A pact signed between the United States and the Taliban in Doha on Saturday said that up to 5,000 jailed Taliban would be released by March 10, however Afghan president Ashraf Ghani on Sunday rejected the demand.

President Ashraf Ghani, who faces a political crisis following claims of fraud in his recent re-election, said he would not commit to a clause in the US-Taliban deal that calls for a massive prisoner exchange, something the militants have been demanding for years.

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