Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Signs Order Releasing 400 Taliban Prisoners
The first round of talks is all set to take place in Doha, where the Taliban maintains a political office.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has signed a decree to release 400 Taliban prisoners with an aim of paving the way for direct peace talks with the insurgent group and ending nearly two decades of war. This will be the last group of Taliban prisoners from the nearly 5,000 that have been captured by Afghanistan over the years. The Taliban had earlier demanded their release as a condition for joining peace negotiations. The first round of talks is all set to take place in Doha, where the Taliban maintains a political office.
During the 1990s, the Taliban had emerged as a prominent force in the Afghan civil war. Their forces comprised largely of students from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools and had fought during the Soviet-Afghan War. Until 2001, the Taliban had held power over roughly three-quarters of Afghanistan and had enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia in the region. Pakistan’s ISI and military are believed to have supported the Taliban to a great extent.
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