President Ashraf Ghani initiated the release of up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in response to the Taliban’s proposed Eid Al-Fitr ceasefire. On Sunday, the Taliban agreed to a three-day truce to mark the festival.
Ghani welcomed the Taliban’s initiative and fastracked the prisoner release, announced the Presidential Palace on Twitter. “The Afghanistan government is extending the offer of peace and is taking further steps to ensure success of the peace process.”
Both sides have respected the ceasefire so far. The Taliban spokesperson told AFP late on Sunday they had not received any reports of clashes “among our Mujahideen and the enemy forces.”
The U.S.-Taliban deal signed in February, without the involvement of the Afghan government, stipulated the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners. In exchange, Taliban was to free 1,000 Afghan security personnel. Arguments about the prisoner exchange had delayed the start of the intra-Afghan peace talks with the government.