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We want peace and education for our children: Released Taliban

KABUL (Tolo News): Some Taliban members who were recently released by the Afghan government have said that they do not support continued fighting in the country. They also called on the Afghan government to expedite efforts for peace and pave the way for their children to get enrolled at schools.

The Afghan government over the past two days released 200 Taliban fighters as a fulfillment of a recent decree issued by President Ashraf Ghani made in accordance with the US-Taliban peace deal signed between the two sides in Doha in late February. As part of the deal, the Afghan government is expected to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and in exchange The Taliban has committed to release 1000 Afghan government troops. “I was released based on President Ghani’s decree–we want lasting peace in Afghanistan, we do not support war, because we can’t restore peace in Afghanistan through the war,” said a newly released Taliban inmate.

“Our life gone has gone to waste, but our children should strive to build the country so that we are no longer dependent on others, therefore, we want peace,” said another Taliban member. Meanwhile, acting Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi said that security forces will continue monitoring activities of those Taliban who were recently released from the jails to ensure that they do not return to the battlefield.

“If the Taliban want to use this opportunity, they should come and reintegrate into Afghan society and contribute to bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. The doors are open to them,” said Andarabi. Andarabi said that the Afghan forces are ready to repel any potential threat by the Taliban.

“The Taliban will not be able to take over an inch of Afghanistan’s soil. Last year the country’s security and defense forces showed that they (Taliban) will not get anything by power,” said Andarabi. The Office of the National Security Council has also said that the Taliban members released from the prision have committed to not return to war. However, the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the 200 prisoners released by the Afghan government are “unknown” people.

He also accused the Afghan government of making excuses about the release of Taliban prisoners. “This is all about damaging a real peace process,” said Mujahid. The Afghan government has said that it has delivered on its promise regarding the release of Taliban prisoners and now the ball is in the Taliban’s court to reduce violence and agree on a ceasefire for peace.

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