Afghanistan to release 175 Taliban prisoners

President Ghani pushes for peace, urges Taliban to reciprocate initiative.
KABUL, Afghanistan: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday announced to 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.

“I call on the Taliban to prepare for direct negotiations [for peace]. We are ready to create an enabling environment for these negotiations,” he said.

More than 3,000 delegates from across Afghanistan as well as representatives of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan attended the session.

A number of key political figures including Ghani’s own power-sharing CEO Abdullah Abdullah, former president Hamid Karzai and former Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as well as a number of other politicians and 12 presidential candidates boycotted this session.

The Taliban have also rejected this traditional consultative session.–AA

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