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US envoy urges Kabul, Taliban to begin prisoner releases ‘as soon as possible’

18 Mar 2020 RT - Russia Today

US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad said on Wednesday the coronavirus pandemic adds urgency to prisoner releases agreed by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government and the Taliban.

They were slated to have started last week as part of a US-led effort to end America’s longest war and bring peace to Afghanistan. However, the development was stalled by disagreements over the number of detainees to be freed and guarantees they would not return to fighting, Reuters said.

The US would like to see prisoner releases “begin as soon as possible in line with the US-Taliban agreement,” Khalilzad tweeted, referring to a February 29 deal he signed with the insurgents for a phased US troop withdrawal.

“No prisoners have been released to date despite the commitment to do so expressed by both sides,” Khalilzad said.

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