Taliban Will Meet Afghan Officials, But Only on Prisoner Release Issue

Prisoners are main issue for Taliban in peace process

On Monday, the Taliban ruled out any further talks with the Kabul government until they came through with a prisoner exchange. On Tuesday, they now say that they are willing to talk, but only on the issue of the prisoners.

A prisoner exchange was promised to the Taliban in the US peace deal they signed Saturday. The Ghani government, however, says the US was never authorized to make such a promise. Indeed, a US-Afghan deal said only that they would promise to study the possibility of an exchange.

That’s not what the Taliban was told, however, and they’re holding out for the release of 5,000 detainees, promised to them by March 10. The Taliban emphasized this was a major point of the final deal, and heavily negotiated over.

This was enough of an issue that the Taliban announced Monday that they are ending the reduction in violence and will attack Afghan government targets until they get the releases.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.