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Ghani: No Commitment by Afghanistan to Free 5,000 Taliban

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 29, 2020. The U.S. signed a peace agreement with Taliban militants Saturday aimed at bringing an end to nearly two decades of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners as stated in a pact signed between the United States and Taliban Islamic militants, President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday.

The Taliban demand for the release of its prisoners from Afghan jails cannot be a precondition to direct talks with the hard-line group, Ghani told a news briefing in the capital, Kabul.

Saturday’s accord between the United States and the Taliban said both were committed to work expeditiously to release combat and political prisoners as a confidence-building measure, with the coordination and approval of all relevant sides.

Up to 5,000 jailed Taliban will be released in exchange for up to 1,000 Afghan government captives by March 10, the pact added.