Taliban suspends Prisoners exchange negotiations in Afghanistan
After Washington reached an agreement with Taliban fighters to withdraw troops. The Taliban suspended On Tuesday, talks with the Afghan government over prisoner exchanges and marked a major step in US-brokered peace negotiations.
“A technical team would not participate in fruitless meetings and the release of the prisoners was delayed under one pretext or another.” Sohail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban political office in Qatar, said on Twitter.
The agreement reached by the United States and the Taliban in late February represents the best opportunity yet to stop the 18-year-old war. Under the agreement, the US-led international forces will withdraw in return for security guarantees that has to be given by the Taliban.
But peace depends on talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban fighters. The exchange of prisoners aims to build confidence between the two sides of the talks.
“We are asking the Taliban not to sabotage the operation by making excuses now,” said Javed Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council in Kabul.
An escalation of violence would inevitably result in the Taliban suspension of the negotiations, which in turn would threaten the US troop withdrawal plan, and this was President Donald Trump primary goal.
A team of three Taliban members arrived in Kabul last month from Qatar to start the prisoner exchange process. Afghan officials said last week that they would release 100 Taliban prisoners who were sick or over 50 years old. In return, the Taliban were expected to release 20 Afghan security forces. Ultimately, both sides aim to release all six thousand prisoners in detention.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the Taliban’s arrival in Kabul, describing it as good news.
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, Pompeo traveled last month to Kabul and Doha to try to resolve the prisoner exchange process.
“Taliban are demanding the release of senior leaders involved in some of the most violent attacks in the past few years.” Said Afghan government officials.