Loya Jirga Asks for prisoner release

\”In order to remove the hurdles for the start of peace talks, stopping the bloodshed, and for the good of the public, the jirga approves the release of 400 prisoners as demanded by the Taliban,\” Jirga member Atefa Tayeb announced. Following the announcement, President Ghani said: \”Today, I will sign the release order of these 400 prisoners.\”

Loya Jirga released its recommendation in 26 points. Which emphasized the start of Intra-Afghan Dialogue, long-lasting peace, the release of remaining prisoners from both sides, better relations with neighbouring counters, return of foreign prisoners to their homelands after a guarantee from their states and thanks to America, OIC, and other helping countries.

All set for Intra-Afghan dialogue

\”We are all set for the intra-Afghan talks to discuss future outlook of the Afghan political setup, agree on giving up the violence, and engage in the political progress.\”
Mushtaq Rahim, a founding member of the Afghanistan Affairs Unit, an Afghan think-tank, told Qatar’s leading news channel Al Jazeera.

Intra-Afghan dialogue will commence soon among different stakeholders of Afghanistan which include other political parties and factions. Present Kabul government is one of them.

The prisoner release was the last hurdle in the Intra-Afghan dialogue. Previously Afghan president refused to sign the release of the last 400 Taliban prisoners. Citing severe allegations on them. many of the inmates are accused of serious offences, with more than 150 of them on death row. The list also includes a group of 44 fighters of particular concern to the United States and other countries for their role in \”high-profile\” attacks.

Intra-Afghan dialogue likely to occur in Qatar

Although no date has been announced for the commencement of Intra-Afghan dialogue. Analysts say they most certainly commence from next week in Qatar. Where the Taliban’s political office is based for many years. Taliban officials have said on record many times that are ready for meaningful dialogue to end violence in Afghanistan.
According to the Peace deal, the Taliban and Afghan government both had to release prisoners as a confidence-building measure.

Taliban has claimed to already release 1000 prisoners as agreed under the deal before Eid. While Kabul administration was reluctant over the whole process of prisoner release. Although due to US pressure on many occasions it had to release most of the prisoners except the last batch of 400. The prisoner release is part of the peace deal between the Taliban and the US signed on 29th February 2020.

Withdrawal of US forces

US security administration is very hopeful. With the start of the Intra-Afghan dialogue withdrawal of the US, forces will speed up. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has welcomed recommendations of Loya Jirga.
“We welcome the Afghan Loya Jirga’s declaration. As well as President Ghani’s decision to sign the decree ordering the release of the remaining prisoners. With these bold steps, after 40 years of war, a historic opportunity for peace is now possible; one that benefits all Afghans and contributes to regional stability and global security”

In an interview broadcast on Saturday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US plans to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to \”a number less than 5,000\” by the end of November.

Shahid Khan

Shahid Khan is an independent analyst and expert in Af-Pak Affairs, specializing in diplomatic intricacies and international relations pertaining to the Af-Pak region.

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