Afghan President Orders Release of 500 Taliban

Prisoners to be released during weekend holiday

In another positive sign for the Afghan peace process, President Ghani announced he intends to release 500 Taliban prisoners over the weekend, during the Eid al-Adha ceasefire. This would include every Taliban fighter still on the list of prisonerss to be released.

There was already hope that a successful ceasefire would give way to intra-Afghan talks next week. The prisoner releases would’ve been the only holdup, so now all the pieces are in place for talks to happen very soon.

Intra-Afghan talks are meant to sort out power-sharing in post-occupation Afghanistan, and should be done before the US pullout. The US pullout is ahead of schedule, and the talks are behind schedule, meaning there is a lot of reason to get a move-on with it.

The US seems to have been trying to work out deals on the prisoner releases, suggesting they could get around Taliban that Ghani doesn’t trust by just sticking them under house arrest forever instead of releasing them. Instead, it seems Ghani is going to release them, like he was meant to.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.