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Afghan govt releases 100 Taliban inmates

Kabul, May 26 (IANS) The Afghan government freed 100 Taliban inmates as a goodwill gesture, spokesperson of Office of the National Security Council confirmed.

“The government released 100 Taliban prisoners from Parwan (province) today as a gesture of goodwill to advance peace efforts, including an extended ceasefire and the immediate start of direct talks,” Xinhua news agency spokesman Javid Faisal as saying in a tweet on Monday.

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The move came after Taliban militants announced a three-day ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr festival.

On March 11, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole and Taliban agreed to release 1,000 soldiers but the exchange of prisoners was repeatedly delayed.

As of May 10, some 1,000 Taliban fighters and 200 Afghan government soldiers were freed by the two sides but the process of exchange of the prisoners was suspended over dispute on swap of prisoners.

The exchange of prisoners is part of a peace deal inked between the Taliban and the US in Qatar in February.

However, the Afghan government was not a signatory of the deal.

To expedite the peace process, President Ghani on Sunday ordered the release of another 2,000 Taliban detainees.

–IANS

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