Washington: – It has been revealed that US Secretary of State held talks with the Taliban on Monday. Sohail Shaheen, the spokesman of the Taliban, gave this information. The spokesman said that the Taliban raised the issue of release of more than 400 Taliban members from the Afghan government prisons. This is the second instance of the US Secretary of State talking to the Taliban in the last two months.
A few days ago, the terrorist organisation IS attacked the prison at Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Members of IS as well as the Taliban were held in this prison. It is being said that some of the terrorists managed to escape during the attack. Against this background, the discussions between US Secretary of State and Taliban become significant.
On Monday, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, held talks with Mullah Abdul Ghani Bardar, who said to be the deputy leader of Taliban, via videoconferencing. During the negotiations, the Taliban raised the issue of the release of more than 400 Taliban prisoners in the Afghan government custody. The Taliban spokesman informed that the issue of starting negotiations with the Afghan government and other factions also featured in the discussion. The US State Department has not given any reaction or statement regarding the talks on Monday.
A peace deal was signed in Qatar between the United States and Taliban on the 29th of February this year. As per the deal, the Taliban had agreed to stop attacks in Afghanistan. Whereas, the United States had expressed willingness to withdraw the military from Afghanistan. Although it was not a part of the peace deal, the Afghan government, on its own, announced that 5,000 Taliban prisoners would be released. Taliban had agreed to release 1,000 people connected with the Afghan government.
As per the announcement, the Afghan government has released more than 4,500 Taliban prisoners. But the Afghan President has refused to release those remaining prisoners, alleging that they are involved in serious crimes like bomb blasts and other terror attacks. This issue is the major hurdle in the possible negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban. Therefore, the Taliban has started emphasising on this issue, and it is being revealed that the discussions with the United States also were centred around the same issue.
Last month, the US Secretary of State, during the discussions, had warned the Taliban over the increasing incidences of violence in Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned that the Taliban should abide by the peace deal signed on the 29th of February and stop attacks on the US citizens in Afghanistan. Pompeo even reminded the Taliban of the terms of the peace deal. Thereafter, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also confessed that the Taliban violence in Afghanistan is increasing. President Ghani said that the more than 10,000 Afghan soldiers have been killed or injured in Taliban violence since the signing of the peace deal between the Taliban and the United States.