Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners in the next few days to pave the way for direct talks with the insurgent group to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan, according to a copy of the decree seen by Reuters.
The two-page decree – which has been signed by Ghani and will be made public later by his office – said that all freed Taliban prisoners will have to provide “a written guarantee not to return to the battlefield”.
The decree details how prisoners will be systematically released, a process he says will begin in four days.
“The process of releasing 1,500 Taliban prisoners will be completed within 15 days, and 100 prisoners will be released from Afghan prisons every day,” according to the decree.
Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government to end the war will take place in tandem with liberation, according to the decree.
If talks continue, the government has announced that it will release another 500 Taliban prisoners every two weeks until a total of 5,000 Taliban prisoners have been released.
The decree stated that the Taliban will have to fulfill their commitment to reduce violence during this period and beyond.
The release of the prisoners is part of a confidence-building measure to pave the way for the opening of direct talks between the government and the insurgents, after talks with both sides and the United States individually.
The issue has become one of the biggest bottlenecks to any progress towards peace, complicated by the different wording of the documents between the United States and the Taliban, and the United States and the Afghan government.
“I urge the two parties to sit down immediately for talks on this matter in Doha, Qatar, to resolve the details,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States’ special envoy who was the main negotiator, said in a tweet. talks.
“The Afghan government has agreed to do so. Once implemented, it will be an important step in the peace process,” he said.
Commanders of the extremist Islamist group have sent vehicles to be ready to assemble fighters during a prisoner swap and have said they will honor the deal by handing over 1,000 government soldiers.
It was unclear whether the prisoners would be released from other prisons outside Bagram, a detention center next to an American military base.