Afghan Government, Taliban Agree to First Prisoner Swap

100 Taliban, 20 govt forces to be released Thursday

After weeks of false starts, reports now suggest that the first Afghan prisoner releases will come Thursday, following a deal between the Ghani government and Taliban. 100 Taliban are to be released, along with 20 pro-government troops.

The Taliban sent negotiators to Kabul on Wednesday to talk about the releases, and this seems to have made some progress. This came after the Ghani government had previously made a deal to release them Wednesday, but then canceled that at the last minute.

Since the Taliban peace deal with the US, the Ghani government has repeatedly pushed back on prisoner releases, and said they never made promises like what the US did in the peace deal. The Taliban are ruling out peace talks until they get the 5,000 prisoners they were promised.

While this 100 prisoners on Thursday is a fairly minor number in that 5,000 sought, it would be a key first step, something the Taliban has been looking for but not getting. Any more delays would be very risky for the Ghani government, and it may be that they have to finally come through with some releases.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.