Kabul Stresses Ceasefire amid Prisoner Swap with Taliban

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Friday November 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The controversial story of the prisoner swap in Afghanistan ends as the Afghan government has released 3 key Taliban figures.
The Afghan government released 3 senior Taliban prisoners, including Anas Haqqani, who is the son of Haqqani network leader, Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani. The decision was backed by Washington during two separate phone calls between President Ashraf Ghani and US officials.
The Taliban militant group also officially confirmed the release of their 3 senior leaders from the Bagram prison. The group said that following the release of the detainees, it handed over both lecturers of the American University of Afghanistan to US forces somewhere in southern Afghanistan. They were kidnapped by Taliban militants in Kabul back in 2016.
While many here see this prisoner sweep as a deal between the US and the Taliban the Afghan government has always emphasized that Kabul’s peace plan removes every concern or doubt about the role of every single player in the Afghan peace process.
The release of Anas Haqqani and 2 other key Taliban leaders comes at a time when Kabul still stresses the necessity of a ceasefire or reduction in violence as a precondition to start intra-Afghan negotiations.
The undeniable influence of Pakistan over the Taliban is considered as a matter of concern for Kabul politicians as well.
The Taliban and the US have had at least 9 rounds of talks on the Afghan peace process so far. So, almost no one can guarantee if the recent developments under a prisoner swap will help the country to reach lasting peace.

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