100 fighters to be released soon, Taliban spokesman says
KABUL: The Afghan government will release a few Taliban prisoners this week to regain confidence so that a US-Taliban peace deal to end a two-decade war will succeed.
The Taliban team arrived in Kabul to meet Afghan officials despite a nationwide lockdown due to the Corona virus and began exchanging prisoners.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the move a "good news" after meeting with Taliban and Afghan officials in Qatar a week ago to move forward in the peace process.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at least 100 Taliban prisoners would be released on Wednesday, the first step in the transfer of 6,000 prisoners between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
"One hundred prisoners will be released in the first phase and then both sides will see whether it will be OK to release a hundred prisoners in one day," he said.
Zabihullah Mujahid said talks about release techniques and medical checkups of these inmates are underway, while the lockdown has increased the challenge due to the Corona virus.
The Taliban are making arrangements for transport to ensure that their families are welcomed by the Afghan prisoners who are released from prison.
Malik National Security Council spokesman Javed Faisal said in a tweet that there was a "face-to-face discussion" on the exchange of prisoners.
Negotiations on the release of Taliban prisoners, including Afghan National Defense and Security Force personnel, are on the face of the talks, the NSC said.
This is the first time that the Taliban has been invited to Kabul for a direct meeting with the government after the US intervention in 2001 ended their government.
Zabihullah Mujahid said the 'technical team' is working to exchange prisoners in Kabul and not for additional talks.
"The only prisoners whose names are on the list should be released, which is why our technical team has gone there, this is not a negotiation and there will be no politics," he said.