The Taliban ended the partial truce with the Afghanistan government on March 2 and announced to resume its 'operations' in the country. Earlier today, it has warned that there will not be any intra-Afghan talks if the government does not release the Taliban’s prisoners.
Days after the peace deal was signed between the United States and the Taliban, the latter demanded the release of prisoners which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani refused. Ghani said that the prisoner swap could be included in the agenda of intra-Afghan talks but cannot be "prerequisite for talks”.
According to media reports, the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid wanted the release of around 5000 prisoners. Mujahid reiterated that the United States is committed to releasing eight prisoners of Islamic Emirate before the beginning of inter-Afghan talks.
Afghan President's statement reportedly came against the backdrop of the struggles faced by the American negotiators in steering Kabul administration and Taliban towards peace talks. After countless meetings, Ghani said that the partial truce will continue with the goal of reaching a full ceasefire but declined to release the Taliban prisoners citing the “right and self-will” of Afghan citizens.
“There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 prisoners. This is the right and the self-will of the people of Afghanistan. It could be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, but cannot be a prerequisite for talks,” said Ghani.
(With agency inputs)