Reconciliation Council: Government’s Negotiating Team Will Leave For Qatar By Tomorrow

The High Council for National Reconciliation said that with the process of prisoner exchange almost completed, the government’s negotiating team will be leaving for Qatar soon.

Faraidoon Khwazoon, spokesperson for the Reconciliation Council, told Reporterly on Wednesday, that the government’s negotiating team is completely prepared to travel to Doha and might travel to Qatar tonight or tomorrow.

He stressed that the technical team of the delegation is more likely to leave for Doha, Qatar on Thursday for the first round of the talks.

The spokesperson was also hopeful that the release of the final batch of 320 Taliban prisoners would be completed today.

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, had also been invited for the start of the intra-Afghan talks, but his participation remained unclear at the moment, Khwazoon said.

Government and Taliban begin prisoner swap

The exchange of prisoners between the government and the Taliban has been going on for two days where the Afghan government has proceeded to release the last 320 Taliban prisoners.

So far, Afghan government officials have not said how many prisoners have been released, but the Kandahar governor’s office has confirmed that eight Taliban prisoners were released from prisons in the province.

Taliban officials have told media outlets that around 200 prisoners have been freed since Monday.

According to reports, the Taliban have also released four members of the Afghan security forces, with two more set to be released today.

The release of Taliban prisoners is based on an agreement the group signed with the U.S. in Qatar in February.

The release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 security forces detainees was a pre-condition to the start of the intra-Afghan talks.

The Taliban has said that they will start the negotiations within a week of the completion of the prisoner exchange.

Once both sides meet their obligations, the initial round of talks between the Afghan technical team and the Taliban’s negotiating body will begin. The militant group has also said that the talks will be held in different countries.

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