Tuesday, 22, June, 2021

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.

Uzbekistan, 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.

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