Taliban seeks prisoner release, UN blacklist removal

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This comes as the Afghan government and Taliban were expected to announce at least a three-day ceasefire during Eid…reports Asian Lite News

Taliban have sought the release of more prisoners and the removal of its leaders’ names from the UN blacklist as a trust-building measure, said Atta Mohammad Noor, a high-level Afghan politician on Tuesday.

Noor, who attended the two-day Doha negotiations with the Taliban delegation, said this will not happen and the government will not repeat its previous act–of releasing 5,000 inmates–which did not help in reducing violence or furthering the peace process in the country.

He said three commissions were formed during the two days of talks in Doha but none led to any results, TOLOnews reported.

This comes as the Afghan government and Taliban were expected to announce at least a three-day ceasefire during Eid. However, it did not happen despite a high-level meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Amid the continuing offensive by Taiban, Noor said that trust can be built through other ways.

“Trust can be built through understanding, partnership in power, political partnership, end of war, reduction in violence, and ceasefire. We could have started from any other route, but regretfully, this did not happen,” he said.

Welcoming the agreement in Doha for the continuation of negotiations, he said: “We hope that one day the other side will realise that war is not the solution in Afghanistan and peace is in the interest of all sides.”

On Monday, President Ghani accused the Taliban of having secret deals with Pakistan. Speaking on a trip to Herat province, Ghani said the group has destroyed over 140 mosques.

“How did you deal concerning Afghanistan’s water? How did you deal on Afghanistan’s mines? How did you deal on Afghanistan’s defence and security forces? How did you deal on the Durand Line?” Ghani asked.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have denied the allegations.

US to relocate Afghan refugees

About 2,500 Afghans who helped the US military in the two-decade war will be relocated to an army base in Virginia to complete their visa application process, the State Department said.

“The Department of Defense has agreed at the request of the Department of State to allow the use of Fort Lee, Virginia, as the initial relocation site for the pool of applicants who are closest to completing special immigrant processing,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing on Monday.

“Approximately 2,500 Afghans and family members are currently eligible to finish special immigrant processing in the US,” he added.

The White House said last week that some 20,000 Afghans had applied for Special Immigrants Visa (SIV), and the evacuation flights for eligible applicants out of the country will begin in the last week of July, reports Xinhua news agency.

President Joe Biden’s administration has been facing pressure from lawmakers to evacuate Afghans who helped the US military and are vulnerable to Taliban reprisals.

President Biden had ordered the US military to end its mission in Afghanistan by August 31, days ahead of his original September 11 deadline.

The US Central Command said last week over 95 per cent of the withdrawal had been completed.

The security situation in the war-torn country has deteriorated as Taliban militants continue heavy fighting against government forces and gain ground since the drawdown of US troops on May 1. (ANI/IANS)

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