Taliban prisoners’ release to create favourable conditions for talks: China

BEIJING (APP): China on Monday welcomed Afghan Council of the elders and tribal leaders’ approval for release of the last batch of Taliban prisoners and said it would create favourable conditions for the Intra-Afghan dialogue in Afghanistan.

“So, releasing prisoners is an important part for the Afghan Government and the Afghan Taliban to establish mutual trust and start Intra-Afghan talks. China welcomes the Afghan government and people following their domestic rules and to discuss and decide these major matters through the Loya Jirga – Grand Assembly, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during his regular briefing held here.

According to media reports, the Council of Afghans elders and tribal leaders have approved the release of last batch of 400 Taliban prisoners, paving way for intra-Afghan dialogue.

He said the approval for the release of Taliban prisoners reflected the principle of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, adding, “I believe this will create favorable conditions for the Intra Afghan talks.”

Zhao Lijian remarked that now the situation in Afghanistan was at a critical stage and said that the relevant parties should earnestly abide by and implement their commitments and agreements, signed regarding Afghanistan to ensure the steady and orderly development of the situation.

“China would like continue to playing a constructive role for the political settlement of the Afghanistan issue and the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” he added.

President Ghani on Monday evening signed a decree to release 400 high-value Taliban prisoners, a source at the Presidential Palace said.

The source said that Ghani also signed another decree on the release of the prisoners of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces who are imprisoned in government prisoners.

The source, however, did not provide further details.

It may be mentioned that around 400 Afghanistan’s Taliban prisoners’ fate had been a crucial hurdle in launching peace talks between the two sides, which had committed to completing a prisoner exchange before negotiations could start.

The resolution was passed at the end of a three-day Loya Jirga – a traditional Afghan meeting of tribal elders and other stakeholders sometimes held to decide on controversial issues.

“In order to remove the hurdles for the start of peace talks, stopping bloodshed, and for the good of the public, the Jirga approves the release of 400 prisoners as demanded by the Taliban,” Jirga member Atefa Tayeb announced in Kabul on Sunday.

“The decision of the Loya Jirga has removed the last excuse and obstacles on the way to peace talks. We are on the verge of peace talks,” said Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the government’s peace process and was appointed head of the Loya Jirga.

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