Ghani’s Orders to Release Taliban Prisoners Invites Criticism
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced release 175 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture following a grand consultative session in the capital Kabul for peace. Addressing the closing ceremony of the four-day ‘Loya Jirga’ (grand consultative session), he urged the Taliban to show respect toward the recommendations for peace proposed by participants of the meeting with release of prisoners one of the key recommendations.
However it appears that the numbers has been increased from 175 to 800 plus which has drawn some concerns from the opposition as well as the security forces. “When a man himself (President Ghani) is illegitimate, then he cannot make a decision. This is a big issue and it’s beyond the authority of him, but he does everything he wants and does it illegally. This is also counted among his ‘illegal activities’,” said presidential candidate Shahab Hakimi
The judiciary should also be worried as the criteria that has been applied to the personnel who are being released is not clear and it is likely that the hard core Taliban if in the list could well rejoin the group in fighting the government forces. More over there is no reaction from the Taliban on the release as the move was hoped to drive them to hold direct talks with the Afghan government in Kabul.
Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib stated that “Thorough and required investigations were carried out in this respect not to release those who will return to the battlefield.”
The president released Taliban prisoners in response to demands made by the loya jirga held in the end of March and first week of April with the hope that this will act as a trigger for the Taliban to announced a cease fire on Ramadan and Eid.
In 2018 the Taliban agreed a three-day ceasefire coinciding with Eid at the end of the holy month of Ramadan – their first since the 2001 US-led invasion.
But the Taliban have not taken the bait and did not hold a cease fire but in fact increased the level of violence in the country during this period when the fasting was on ended with the Eid celebrations.
Quite apparently the Taliban has no concern for the will of the people or any religious and festive occasion as they are focused on return to power.