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Taliban says ready to begin intra-Afghan negotiations within a week

Aug 10, 2020

Kabul [Afghanistan], Aug 10 (ANI): The Taliban is ready to begin intra-Afghan negotiations within a week if the prisoners' release is completed, said spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.
As per Tolo News, Shaheen said that the first round of talks would be led by the former chief negotiator of the Taliban Abbas Stanikzai during their talks with the US. The remarks come after the Loya Jirga approved the release of 400 Taliban prisoners -- a key decision to start the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The first round of negotiations is expected to be held in Doha, Qatar. With regard to the willingness of the Taliban for a cease-fire, Shaheen said that it was a part of the negotiation agenda "that will be discussed. It has been mentioned in the Doha agreement," Tolo News further reported.
Shaheen said that the group has the will for peace and called the opening of the Qatar office as an example.
The Loya Jirga of Afghanistan on Sunday approved the release of 400 Taliban prisoners in a major breakthrough that will pave the way for intra-Afghan talks.
President Ashraf Ghani, former president Hamid Karzai, and other political figures have called on the Taliban for an immediate start to the intra-Afghan talks.
The Loya Jirga, comprising thousands of Afghan elders, community leaders, and politicians gathered in Afghanistan's capital to take a final call on the release of 400 Taliban prisoners.
The Afghan government has said that they have released over 4,600 Taliban prisoners, 400 less than the number decided during the US-Taliban deal. The government is hesitating to release the remaining prisoners due to their serious crimes.
According to government data, of the 400 prisoners in question, 156 of them have been sentenced to death, 105 of them are accused of murder, 34 of them are accused of kidnapping that led to murder, 51 of them are accused of drug smuggling, 44 of them are on the blacklist of the Afghan government and its allies, six of them are accused of other crimes, four are unknown. (ANI)

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