The Afghan government confirmed this week that it released 490 Taliban prisoners and is expected to release hundreds more to convince the narco-jihadi organization to engage in peace negotiations with Kabul.
TOLO News reported this week, “The Presidential Palace on Wednesday said in a statement that the Afghan government had released at least 490 Taliban prisoners in the last nine days and efforts are underway to free more inmates.”
Feroz Bashari, the Afghan government media center chief, told the Associated Press (AP) authorities are slated to liberate 887 inmates.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release of the Taliban prisoners “to mark the Eid-al-Fitr holiday that followed the end of the holy month of Ramadan earlier in June,” AP noted.
Breitbart News determined that the Taliban, which encouraged its fighters and supporters to engage in jihad during the holy month and argued that they would be doubly rewarded in heaven, turned out to be the most prolific and the deadliest terrorist group in the Muslim world on Ramadan 2019 after it refused Ghani’s offer for a repeat of the historic truce last year during the same period.
The Afghan Taliban carried out 75 attacks during the holiest month for Muslims, killing 369 local security forces and civilians and wounding 389 others, Breitbart News tally showed.
So far, Kabul’s gesture of goodwill by releasing the prisoners has failed to move the Taliban, which continues to refuse to allow the Afghan government to participate in the ongoing peace talks between the group and the United States.
The Long War Journal revealed:
The Taliban prisoners were released unconditionally. They are not required to denounce the Taliban or promise to quit the fight against the Afghan government. Historically, Taliban prisoners who have been freed from Afghan prisons have returned to the battlefield.
The release of nearly 900 of its members from Afghan prisons likely will not affect the Taliban’s stance on direct negotiations with the Afghan government. It will give the Taliban a boost in fighting capacity as it continues to press its spring offensive and increase the amount of territory and Afghans it influences.
The recent release of nearly 500 Taliban prisoners came as U.S.-backed Afghan forces risked their lives during the last two weeks to rescue “at least 400 people, including civilians and members of the Afghan army and police” from prisons operated by the terrorist group.
On several occasions, the Taliban has refused President Ghani’s offer of an unconditional ceasefire and official recognition as a political group. The Taliban has stepped up its lethal attacks during the ongoing negotiations.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has intensified peace-seeking efforts as part of his strategy to end the more than 17-year-old war — raging since October 2001.
Despite America’s insistence, the Taliban continues to deny a truce and the Afghan government any role in the negotiations, dismissing Kabul as an America “puppet.” The Taliban, which is fighting to implement strict Islamic laws, or sharia, considers itself the only legitimate representative of the Afghan people.
The Taliban claims it will only negotiate with Kabul after all foreign forces leave Afghanistan. America’s war in Afghanistan has come at a tremendous cost of blood and treasure — nearly $1 trillion spent as well as 2,285 military deaths and 20,462 injuries, primarily at the hands of the Taliban. Taliban terrorists generate most of their funding from terrorist activities from the lucrative opium cultivation business, smuggling, and even kidnappings.