2020-07-16 › 12 Countries Offered to Host Intra-Afghan Talks: Atmar
Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar at a press conference on Thursday said that 12 countries want to host intra-Afghan talks, including regional countries.
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Qatar, Indonesia and Japan have all shown interest in hosting intra-Afghan talks, Atmar said.
Atmar also said that the Afghan government has released 4,400 Taliban prisoners so far although the Taliban wants the release of 5,000. He said that 600 more prisoners have not been released because of “serious problems.”
But 600 more Taliban prisoners will be released soon, he said.
“The government has asked the Taliban to handover a new list for 600 more prisoners,” said Atmar.
The Taliban “must show good will” for the beginning of the intra-Afghan talks, he added.
On Wednesday, the Taliban released 30 Afghan government prisoners in Helmand, and sources said that the group resisted the release of some of them.
The Afghan government released 32 Taliban prisoners from Bagram, seven from Helmand and one from northern Balkh province, said sources.
So far, the Taliban has released 845 Afghan government prisoners.
The US-Taliban deal signed on February 28 in Doha has remained unimplemented in some parts, such as a reduction in violence and intra-Afghan negotiations, which should have happened 135 days after the accord. The intra-Afghan talks have not begun, and violence has not been reduced.
Monday was the 136th day after the peace deal was signed. The agreement had raised hopes among the Afghan people and political elites who believed it would lead the country towards negotiations, although serious delays and setbacks have occurred since its signing.
Recently, the Afghan government has blamed the Taliban for not implementing their commitments, saying the movements by the group should be scrutinized after the peace deal.
The prisoner exchange between the Afghan government and the Taliban has delayed the intra-Afghan negotiations. The process should have happened 10 days after the peace deal, according to the US and Taliban agreement.
The US Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Tuesday that US troops have withdrawn from five military bases and reduced the size of its forces in Afghanistan as part of the agreement reached with the Taliban in February, The Hill reported.
"US forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by US forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners,” said Hoffman.
NATO has around 12,000 troops under the Resolute Support mission, which includes a portion of the 8,600 total US troops, according to the Resolute Support mission.
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