Taliban terrorists’ release ‘poses danger’ but ‘necessary’: Ghani
KABUL:- Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday said that Taliban terrorists who are being freed by the government might pose a danger to the world but their release was necessary for peace.
Ghani made the remarks during a conversation with the Council on Foreign Relations, Tolo News reported. The conversation was hosted by James B Cunningham, a senior fellow of the Atlantic Council and former US ambassador to Afghanistan. His remarks come a day after the Afghan government commenced the release of 400 high-value Taliban prisoners by releasing 80 of them in the first phase. The move is expected to open the way for intra-Afghan negotiations. “The list is likely to pose a danger both to us and to you and to the world because it is the drug dealers and hardened criminals–that has been shared with all our allies and friends–but again this is a step that we have considered necessary,” Ghani said.
“Until now, there has been a lot of pressure, requests from the Afghan government,” Ghani said. “Now the balance shifts because we have taken all the risks because we are a state. We were not a party to an agreement to release 5,000 Taliban but out of the imperative of wanting peace in the conviction, we did it.” The Loya Jirga (grand assembly) on August 9 approved the release of 400 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in a major breakthrough that will pave the way for intra-Afghan talks. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has signed a decree to release 400 Taliban prisoners, as part of efforts to begin intra-Afghan talks, a source at the Presidential Palace said. The release of prisoners was being considered as the last hurdle into opening peace talks between the internationally-backed Afghan government and the Taliban under a peace deal between the group and the US.
The Afghan government has said they have released over 4,600 Taliban prisoners over a period of time, which is 400 less than the number decided during the US-Taliban deal. On February 29, the US and Taliban signed the peace agreement in Doha to end the two-decades-old war in Afghanistan.