The Taliban has offered a three-month ceasefire in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of 7,000 prisoners, an Afghan government spokesman said on Thursday. The offer comes as fighting is raging in Afghanistan, and the Taliban has been making significant gains.
“The Taliban has offered a plan for a three-month ceasefire, but in exchange, they have asked for the release of 7,000 of their prisoners and the removal of their leaders from the UN blacklist,” Afghan government spokesman Nader Nadery said.
Nadery said the Taliban offer was a “big demand,” and it’s not yet clear how the government will respond. The Afghan government released 5,000 Taliban prisoners last year as a condition for intra-Afghan talks as required by the US-Taliban peace deal signed in Doha in February 2020.
Intra-Afghan talks have stalled, but the Afghan government is expected to send a delegation to Doha later this week for more negotiations with the Taliban. Members of the Afghan government’s High Council of National Reconciliation, which was established for the peace process last year, said Thursday they were optimistic for renewed peace efforts.
Considering the advancements the Taliban is making on the battlefield, the group has the upper hand in the negotiations. The Taliban has claimed that they now control 85 percent of the territory in Afghanistan. The claim is disputed, but it might not be far off. In February, before the latest offensives started, a survey from an Afghan news agency found that the Taliban controlled 52 percent of the country’s territory.
President Biden said the Afghanistan withdrawal will be completed by August 31st, although the US has plans to keep troops at its embassy and at the international airport in Kabul.