Sun, 20 Sep 2020

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 15 (ANI): Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday said that Taliban terrorists who are being freed by the government might pose a danger to the world but their release was necessary for peace.

Ghani made the remarks during a conversation with the Council on Foreign Relations, Tolo News reported.

The conversation was hosted by James B Cunningham, a senior fellow of the Atlantic Council and former US ambassador to Afghanistan.

His remarks come a day after the Afghan government commenced the release of 400 high-value Taliban prisoners by releasing 80 of them in the first phase. The move is expected to open the way for intra-Afghan negotiations.

"The list is likely to pose a danger both to us and to you and to the world because it is the drug dealers and hardened criminals--that has been shared with all our allies and friends--but again this is a step that we have considered necessary," Ghani said.

"Until now, there has been a lot of pressure, requests from the Afghan government," Ghani said. "Now the balance shifts because we have taken all the risks because we are a state. We were not party to an agreement to release 5,000 Taliban but out of the imperative of wanting peace in the conviction, we did it."The Loya Jirga (grand assembly) on August 9 approved the release of 400 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in a major breakthrough that will pave the way for intra-Afghan talks.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has signed a decree to release 400 Taliban prisoners, as part of efforts to begin intra-Afghan talks, a source at the Presidential Palace said.

The release of prisoners was being considered as the last hurdle into opening peace talks between the internationally-backed Afghan government and the Taliban under a peace deal between the group and the US.

The Afghan government has said they have released over 4,600 Taliban prisoners over a period of time, which is 400 less than the number decided during the US-Taliban deal.

On February 29, the US and Taliban signed the peace agreement in Doha to end the two-decades-old war in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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