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Khalilzad Welcome Jirga’s Declaration/ Intra-Afghan Dialogue to Start on 16 August

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Monday August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation welcomed the Loya Jirga declaration and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani decision on release of 400 remaining prisoners of Taliban.
“We welcome the Afghan Loya Jirga’s declaration and President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to sign the decree ordering the release of the remaining prisoners. In the next few days, we expect the completion of prisoner releases, then travel of the Islamic Republic team to Doha & from there the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations”, Khalilzad tweeted late on Sunday.
According to the U.S. envoy, “a historic opportunity for peace” in the war-stricken country has emerged.
“The parties will embark on a process to reach an agreement on a political roadmap & a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to end the Afghan war”, Khalilzad said.
The United States “seeks a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan” that will not pose a threat to the world, and the prisoner release will bring everyone “one step closer” to this goal, the U.S. representative added.
Loya Jirga, the grand assembly with more than 3,200 participants, in a resolution issued on Sunday approved the release of the 400 remaining Taliban prisoners in an aim to quickly start the intra-Afghan talks and bring about a ceasefire and an end to the nation's war.
Government has released 4,600 Taliban inmates out of the 5,000 pledged in a landmark agreement signed in February by the United States-Taliban, but the release of the remaining 400 prisoners is quite difficult for them.
President Ghani has said that he could not release the last batch of Taliban prisoners without the approval of Loya Jirga, a traditional gathering of ethnic, religious, and political leaders who decide on matters of national importance.
Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, who also chairs the Loya Jirga, on Saturday told reporters that peace talks with the Taliban would start within three days of the release of the prisoners.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan National Radio and Television today reported that Intra-Afghan talks between Afghan government and Taliban will started at 16 August in Qatar.
M.A.Ansari

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