Taliban Claims Afghan Government ‘Distorting’ the Prisoner Exchange

Amidst the continuation of the exchange of prisoners, Taliban claimed the Afghan government has been reporting an inflated figure for the number of Taliban prisoners released.

Suhail Shaheen, Taliban’s spokesman for the political office in Qatar tweeted that so far, the government had released 2,284 prisoners under the U.S.-Taliban Doha agreement.

The Afghan National Security Council (ONSC) announced on Sunday that so far, the government had released 2,700 Taliban prisoners.

Shahin said, “Claim of having released more prisoners of ours than that as announced by officials of the Kabul Administration is not true.”

He called on the government to release accurate figures on the number of prisoners released and “avoid distorting the process.”

The prisoner exchange process is a goodwill measure by the Taliban and the Afghan government before they commence with the intra-Afghan peace talks. The guidelines for the exchange were set by the U.S.-Taliban Doha peace agreement in February that called for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 government captives.

The process has accelerated since the Taliban declared a three-day ceasefire on Eid al-Fitr and in return, President Ashraf Ghani announced the release of 2,000 Taliban prisoners.

The Ongoing Process

On Sunday, the ONSC said the government had released 710 Taliban prisoners over the weekend from various detentions facilities across the country.

Javid Faisal, spokesman for ONSC, said that the number of Taliban prisoners released by the government so far was 2,700.

He also revealed that the Taliban prisoners were being released based of off a list provided by a technical team of the Taliban to the government.

The Taliban announced that they had released 420 Afghan prisoners. The government is yet to comment on their identities.

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