Kabul grants 400 releases to Taliban to launch peace dialogue

The government in Kabul yielded, Sunday, August 9, to the latest demands of the Taliban movement so that the inter-Afghan peace dialogue can finally begin. He agreed to release the last 400 detainees from a list of 5,000 names provided by the insurgents. Refusing to decide for himself to release these 400 people, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, convened, on August 7, in Kabul, the Loya Jirga – a traditional assembly bringing together 3,200 notables, tribal leaders and religious from all over the territory. – to assume this choice. After receiving their agreement, Mr. Ghani assured that he would sign as soon as ” today [dimanche], a decree to release the 400 remaining prisoners ”.

After the announcement, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, who chaired this meeting of wise men, said: “We are about to [commencer les] peace negotiations. “ The day before, he assured that direct dialogue with the Taliban will be launched in Doha (Qatar) and “Will begin three days after the release of the prisoners”. One of the spokesman for the insurgent movement, Suhail Shaheen, was less optimistic, believing that at least “One week to start these negotiations after the release of the last 400 prisoners ”.

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The question posed to the members of the Loya Jirga was far from simple. The Afghan authorities estimated that these 400 prisoners, described as “criminals”, were only indirectly linked to the movement. Among them are, in fact, drug traffickers, rapists and common law murderers. Mr. Ghani was also afraid of facing alone the grievances of the families of victims, Afghan or foreign. In the spring, Kabul proposed to the Taliban to exchange these names with those of other fighters, still held in Afghan jails. In vain.

“National betrayal”

This refusal of the Taliban had led some Western diplomats to dig the bottom of this affair before discovering that the families of many criminals appearing on this list had “Paid money to obtain the release of their relative”, according to one of them, stationed in Kabul. According to the information provided to the participants of the Loya Jirga, nearly a third of the detainees concerned are condemned to death. Some are also involved in deadly attacks, in Kabul and in the rest of the country, having killed Afghans but also foreigners, civilians and soldiers, including several French.

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