Afghan Govt Now Demands Taliban Guarantee to Resume Prisoner Release

Ghani wants talks to start before any releases happen

The Afghan government continues with its puzzling array of changes on a promised prisoner release tied to the US-Taliban peace deal. Having first refused, then announced a smaller, 1,500 prisoner release, the Afghan government has in the last 48 hours put that on hold, and then demanded Taliban concessions to restart a plan that the Taliban had already considered unacceptably slow.

The Ghani government is now demanding that the Taliban unconditionally start intra-Afghan talks and resume their reduction of violence, and then the government would release prisoners at a much slower rate than even their latest proposal.

To summarize, the US promised the Taliban 5,000 prisoners would be released by now. Ghani gave them none, then suggested eventually giving them 1,500. When the 1,500 didn’t get the Taliban even grudgingly excited, they halted that too and now want the Taliban to deliver everything the US deal insisted first before getting anything at all.

The Taliban hasn’t commented on that, but they really don’t have to, as if the previous proposal didn’t work for them, this surely won’t either. The US is also likely to be mad, as the 1,500 prisoner edict was done at the US behest ahead of Ghani’s inauguration, and at this point it seems like Ghani is just jerking everyone around and jeopardizing the peace deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.