Exclusive: Afghan government to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners as a move to launch direct talks, a decree shows

FILE PHOTO: Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani arrives to his inauguration as president, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail/File Photo

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday signed a decree to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners as a move to launch direct talks with the hardline insurgent group to end the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan, according to a copy of the decree seen by Reuters.

The two-page decree – which will be made public later by Ghani’s office – said that all released Taliban prisoners will have to provide “a written guarantee to not return to the battlefield.”

The decree lays out details about how the Taliban prisoners will be released in a systematic manner to further peace talks. The process of releasing the prisoners will begin in four days, the decree said.

Writing by Rupam Jain, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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