Afghan government frees 100 Taliban prisoners

Peace prevails on day 2 of ceasefire


Afghan authorities released 100 Taliban prisoners on Monday as part of the government’s response to a surprise, three-day ceasefire the insurgents called to mark the Id al-Fitr festival.

The pause in fighting, only the second of its kind in Afghanistan’s nearly 19-year-old war, appeared to be holding on day two after the government welcomed the truce by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 Taliban inmates.

President Ashraf Ghani said his administration was also ready to hold peace talks with the Taliban, seen as key to ending the war in the impoverished country. “The government of Afghanistan has today released 100 Taliban prisoners from Bagram prison,” said National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal. He said the prisoner release was to “help the peace process” and will continue until 2,000 prisoners are freed.

The Taliban insists Kabul must release all 5,000 members as agreed in the deal with the U.S. “This process should be completed in order to remove hurdles in the way of commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter.