Afghan Government Starts Release of Pending Taliban Prisoners

The prisoners were released from the Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul on Thursday as part of intra-Afghanistan negotiations

About 80 of the 400 remaining key Taliban prisoners were released, said the National Security Council on Friday, as part of the pre-talks deal. The release of the high-value prisoners was authorized by the Loya Jirga—the grand assembly of the country's elders- last week.

On Thursday, the prisoners were released from the Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul, the Council was quoted saying by TOLO News. The release of the prisoners is a key part of the intra-Afghan negotiations. However, according to sources, countries such as Australia, France and the US have reservations regarding the release of certain prisoners.

Prisoners Accused of Several Crimes

According to government data, out of the 400 prisoners in question, 156 of them have been sentenced to death, 105 of them are accused of murder, and 34 of them are accused of kidnapping that led to murder.

Representational Picture Pxfuel

Among the others, 51 of them are accused of drug smuggling, 44 of them are on the blacklist of the Afghan government and its allies, 6 of them are accused of assorted crimes, 4 are accused of unspecified crimes.

Prisoners on Death Sentence Not Released

A document seen by TOLO News shows that at least 124 Taliban prisoners who were sentenced to death by the courts are currently kept in Pul-e-Charkhi and Bagram jails. The list of 5,000 prisoners was given to the Afghan government by the Taliban to be released ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations, which are now expected to be held in Doha.

So far, the government has released 4,680 of the prisoners in the Taliban list, and an additional 500 not in the Taliban list. The last 500 were freed during Eid in response to the Taliban's announcement of a ceasefire.

(With inputs from agencies)