Afghan Govt Refuses to Release 597 Taliban Prisoners

Taliban says many are only charged with being members of Taliban

The ongoing prisoner release issue in Afghanistan remains unresolved, with the government now down to 597 people from the initial list of 5,000, and the government refusing to release any of them to the Taliban.

That’s a problem, because the Taliban has conditioned intra-Afghan talks on the releases happening. The Taliban has warned that the list doesn’t make sense, with some of the 597 only charged with being members of the Taliban and not for doing anything.

The Afghan government isn’t yet being clear what the hold-up was, but seemed to indicate “moral” problems. The government has previously rejected releasing murderers or other Taliban involved in certain serious crimes.

The government had held off on releases several times trying to get peace talks started without the releases, but eventually released most of them. The Taliban likely will hold out for more of these releases, and having gotten almost 90%, they’ll likely want the rest.

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.