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US proposes house arrest for “most dreaded” Taliban prisoners

01 Aug 2020 Ariana News

In an exclusive report by Reuters, published on Saturday, the news agency stated the US has proposed that hundreds of Taliban prisoners be transferred to house arrest in a supervised facility when they are freed from Afghan jails. Citing three senior official sources, Reuters reported that this was a proposed solution for a deadlock that is holding up peace talks. According to the report, the proposal was for the Taliban fighters to be placed in a location where they would be under both Taliban and Afghan government surveillance.  Reuters stated that according to sources, the proposal was presented this week to both the Afghan government and to the Taliban.  The prisoner issue has been the sticking point in terms of kick-starting intra-Afghan talks following the February agreement between the US and the Taliban in Doha.  To date, the Afghan government has refrained from releasing the final batch of about 400 prisoners.  This development comes after a visit this week by US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to Kabul where he met with President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan officials.  Reuters reported that some Western allies have also expressed concerns over the release of about 200 of this group.  “The Americans and their allies agree that it would be insane to let some of the most dreaded Taliban fighters walk out freely…the Afghan forces arrested them for conducting some of the most heinous crimes against humanity,” said a senior western diplomat in Kabul. Khalilzad’s office was not immediately available for comment on the proposals. A spokesman for Ghani declined to comment, Reuters reported. The US State Department referred Reuters to a statement it released after Khalilzad’s visit, which said he had pressed for “ongoing efforts to resolve the remaining issues ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations”, including the prisoner release, but did not detail any proposals. According to Reuters, of the 400 prisoners left, around 200 are accused by the Afghan government of masterminding attacks on embassies, public squares and government offices, killing thousands of civilians in recent years, including a huge 2017 blast targeting the German Embassy in Kabul. Two Taliban sources and one former senior Afghan official said senior members of the militant Haqqani Network, which has ties to the Taliban, are also among the group. On Friday, Ghani ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners who are not part of the group’s list.  

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