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Govt-Taliban VTC Held Over Prisoner Release, Date Set

26 Mar 2020 Tolo News

The Taliban’s spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted on Wednesday that teams from the Taliban, the Red Cross, the US, Qatar and the Kabul government today held a five-way video conference for 4 hours and discussed "the peace process and the release of prisoners.”

"It was decided to start the process of releasing the prisoners on March 31, and (the Taliban) will dispatch its technical team to Bagram prison to determine the identities of its prisoners-- to verify the list of the prisoners that was previously endorsed,” said Shaheen.

“The Peace Initial Contact Group (PICG) met virtually with the Taliban and discussed initial technical steps for prisoner release,” said the Afghan office of the National Security Council (ONSC).

“To carry out these further discussions, a Taliban team will meet with the government face-to-face in Afghanistan in the coming days,” the ONSC tweeted.

 US envoy Khalilzad tweeted: “The second technical meeting on prisoner exchanges between the Afghan government and Taliban took place today, again by video conference. The two sides agreed prisoner releases by both sides will start March 31.”

 "This is a positive development. Technical meetings will continue to make sure the process goes smoothly," said Khalilzad.

The Office of National Security Council  said that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, Qatari Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution Dr. Mutlaq al-Qahtani, and ICRC head of delegation Mr. Juan Pedro Schaerer also attended the five-way video conference with the Taliban.

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