The afghan government has freed about 900 prisoners the taliban on Tuesday, the hopes of encouraging the rebels to prolong the cease-fire of three days that they were decreed in the whole of Afghanistan and that should be complete by the end of the day.
An AFP journalist witnessed the enlargement of a hundred of these prisoners, presented to the press under a big sun as they left the prison at Bagram, about sixty miles from Kabul.
“I am very happy to be released now. I’m going to join my family after eight long years “, a delighted Abdul Wasi, 27 years old, an inhabitant of the province of Kandahar (Southern) to the beard.
“We want a cease-fire permanent in the country,” he added. “If the foreign troops leave, we do not we will fight more. ”
“I don’t know what I will do in the future, but I will do anything to serve islam “, for its part, has observed Qari Mohammadullah, who is said to have lost his father and his only daughter, who died of illness during his eight years and two months behind bars.
In total, some 900 prisoners were released Tuesday, according to lieutenant-colonel Nazifullah Walizada, who oversaw the operation for the ministry of Defence.
The national security Council, a government body, announced on Tuesday morning, the imminence of these releases, which are intended to ” advance the cause of peace, including the continuation of the ceasefire “.
“We hope that the taliban to extend the ceasefire so that we can start the peace process “, said the spokesperson for the Coneil national security, Faisal Javid, during a press conference. “The future depends on the next decision of the taliban. ”
Contacted by AFP, the insurgents were rather optimistic on the subject.
A first source taliban, announced to the AFP that 200 members of the “forces of the administration of Kabul” they hold would be released in the next few days “.
A second source among the insurgents, was then qualified of “very likely” the fact that they ” extend the cease-fire from seven days, if the government is accelerating the release of the prisoners.” “All of our leaders ( … ), or almost, are agreed on it “, she added.
Zabihullah Mudjahid, a spokesman and official voice of the taliban, however, said they have “no information” on the subject.
The rebels, who multiplied over the last weeks onslaught of murderers against the afghan forces, were surprised on Saturday by declaring unilaterally a cessation of fighting for their fellow citizens “to be able to celebrate in peace and comfort” Eid el-Fitr, which marks the end of ramadan.
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has immediately accepted this offer. Sunday, he launched ” a procedure for the release of up to 2000 prisoners were taliban, in a gesture of good will, in response to the announcement by the taliban a cease-fire “, according to his spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi.
One hundred taliban had already been released on Monday.
These releases reciprocal of prisoners – up to 5,000 taliban against 1,000 members of the afghan forces – are provided for by an agreement signed on 29 February in Doha between Washington and the taliban, but not ratified by Kabul.
But this vast exchange of prisoners, beset by obstacles, has been delayed. Kabul had, prior to the cease-fire, expanded about 1000 prisoners, whereas the insurgents had freed about 300.
The Doha agreement also provides for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in 14 months, provided that the insurgents respect of commitments in terms of security and entering into negotiations with the afghan authorities on the country’s future.
“The United States and Pakistan (neighbor to Afghanistan and a regional actor major, editor’s NOTE) want the dialog interafghan starts immediately after the release of 2000 prisoners. But the taliban still want their 5000 prisoners be released before (to start) any discussions, ” warned one of the two sources taliban.
The cease-fire, the first at the initiative of the taliban since an international coalition led by the United States drove them from power in 2001, has been widely respected, despite a few skirmishes.
This is the second interruption of the fighting in Afghanistan since 2001. The first, on the initiative of Ashraf Ghani, lasted for three days in June 2018, already on the occasion of the Eid el-Fitr, and had given rise to astounding scenes of fraternization between combatants of the two sides.
The taliban have also respected a truce partial nine days from 22 February to 2 march on the occasion of the signing of the Doha agreement.