Afghan Govt Rejects Peace Deal’s Call to Release Taliban Prisoners

Ghani: US doesn't have authority to release Taliban prisoners

The first obstacle since the US-Taliban peace deal was signed Saturday emerged early Sunday, when the Afghan government started publicly objecting to the deal’s call to release Taliban prisoners.

The peace deal calls for a speedy release of prisoners, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says that the US had no authority to make such a promise, and that his government will ultimately decide the fate of the Taliban.

There are calls for the Taliban to enter into rapprochement talks with the Ghani government, and these comments may be intended to retain some leverage in those talks. The reality, however, is that the Afghan government probably can’t refuse to release the prisoners in the long run, because as the US withdraws, the Taliban will probably feel entitled to act unilaterally to fulfill the terms of the US deal.

This points to a problem though, that the US apparently did believe they could make commitments on behalf of the Afghan government without telling them, and now are going to have to deliver at least somewhat to keep the deal in place.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.