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Jirga on 7th to decide fate of Taliban inmates

KABUL (Pajhwok): A grand assembly will convene this week to decide the fate of the 400 Taliban prisoners the government has refused to release before intra-Afghan peace negotiations.

The state-run television said in a tweet on Sunday the proposed Loya Jirga would convene on August 7. The gathering may last three to five days.

On the first day of the Eid festival, President Ashraf Ghani suggested convening the Loya Jirga to decide on the fate of the 400 prisoners on a Taliban list handed to his administration.

The government was to free 5,000 Taliban inmates in line with the US-Taliban agreement. In return, the militant movement has already released 1,000 government soldiers.

Ghani says his government has no power under the Constitution to free the 400 Taliban prisoners involved in serious crimes. As a result, the president wants to seek advice from the Loya Jirga.

However, the Taliban have warned that a delay in releasing the prisoners would lead to a continuation of the conflict. They want Kabul to demonstrate honesty on the issue..

Participants of the gathering will decide whether or not to release the 400 militants. A cabinet spokesman said on Sunday 317 Taliban militants were released in the past two days, taking the total number to 4,914.

A senior government official, meanwhile, confided to Pajhwok Afghan News attendees of the previous jirga on peace would attend the upcoming consultative session.

The source said governors of the 34 provinces shared lists of attendees of the jirga with the ventral government last night.

Second Vice-President Sarwar Danish discussed the consultative loya Jirga with deputy the ambassador of the US in Kabul.

In a statement, Danish’s office said that the Loya Jigra would be held in near future and it would be attended by member of provincial councils, public representative and members of National Consultative Council.

Danish said the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners, a ceasefire extension, intra-Afghan talks and other issues would be discussed by the Loya Jirga.

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