Afghanistan to free 900 Taliban, urges ceasefire extension
The Afghan government urged the Taliban to extend a three-day ceasefire set to end on Tuesday night, while announcing it would free 900 members of the insurgent group in the biggest such release yet, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The release is part of a prisoner swap under a deal struck by the Taliban and the United States in Doha in February, as a precursor to peace talks between the Islamist militants and an inclusive Afghan delegation aiming to end a two-decade-old war.
“For better management of the prisoner issue, it is important to extend the ceasefire,” Javid Faisal, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s national security adviser, told a news conference.
Such an extension was key to avoiding further bloodshed and the Afghan government was ready for it, Faisal added.
The Taliban had announced a three-day ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday that ends the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in a move welcomed by both the Afghan and U.S. governments.
But the Taliban have yet to say if they are willing to extend the ceasefire after it expires at midnight (1930 GMT).
Last month, the group rejected a call by the Afghan government for a Ramadan ceasefire.