Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 15th, 2021

Releasing More Fighters to Kill More People?

The United States and the Taliban held several rounds of talks in Qatari capital Doha behind closed doors. After US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed peace agreement, Washington pressed Kabul to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners to facilitate the start of intra-Afghan dialogue. Afghans were highly apprehensive about the consequences of prisoners’ release, which led to the increased violence.
Recently, US Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson is cited as saying that the Taliban are expecting the release of thousands of their prisoners under their agreement with the United States by mid-December. “The specific provision relating to another 7,000 Taliban prisoners is contained in the US-Taliban agreement,” Wilson said. It comes as the Taliban released prisoners returned to the battlefields and intensified their attacks against the Afghan government.
It indicates that the US officials kept Afghan people in dark about the contents of the talks fearing public backlash. Washington’s one-sided decision will not be tolerable to Afghan people. The Trump administration should stop giving concessions to the Taliban without bringing in peace and stability. In other words, despite the Taliban’s intensified attacks against Afghan nation and state and their refusal to declare ceasefire and reduce violence, Washington is still seeking to give concessions to the Taliban group, which will be great injustice to the people of Afghanistan. Why the Trump administration is closing its eyes to the Taliban’s escalated militancy, violation of their deal, and acts of violence and bloodshed? What will the Taliban offer to the Afghan government in return for the US repeated concessions?
Afghan people have to protest against concessions going to be given to the Taliban. The US should not decide one-sidedly about the future of Afghanistan. The Trump administration has already promoted the terrorist group to a political party through holding talks and signing peace agreement with the Taliban. The White House made a political blunder as it marginalized the Afghan government from talks in Qatar. Releasing Taliban prisoners, including the hardcore fighters, was the second mistake since it increased the level of violence. The escalated militancy after the prisoners’ release proves that releasing more prisoners will further increase violence and casualties in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government should stop holding talks with the Taliban behind closed doors. The media and people of Afghanistan should no more be kept in dark. Meanwhile, the government must not release the Taliban fighters without public consent. The Kabul government should resist and wait for the Joe Biden administration since Trump still does not act as a politician but as a businessman. Releasing more terrorists to kill more people? It is injustice and irrational. The Taliban fighters are needed to be released after the Taliban and the Afghan government reach an agreement and sign a peace deal. Currently, the Taliban even do not ensure that their released fighters will not return to the battlefields.
Despite signing peace deal with the US and holding talks with the Afghan government, the Taliban have not taken any practical steps to reduce violence. In short, releasing more prisoners will deteriorate the security situation in the country and lead to further casualties of Afghan soldiers and civilians. If the US asks the Afghan government to release Taliban’s fighters, it has to ensure a permanent ceasefire, the prisoners’ commitment not to return to the battlefields, and the disarmament of the Taliban rank and file. But asking the government to release the prisoners without regard to the consequences will be tantamount to underestimating the lives of Afghan people, including soldiers and civilians. It should be noted that sweats and blood were shed and hundreds of thousands were possibly spent in capturing those Taliban fighters and keeping them in jails. Many of those prisoners are possibly involved in killing Afghan soldiers and civilians. There may be the most dangerous fighters among them. Therefore, releasing those fighters will be a betrayal to the families of war victims.
For the Afghan people, the Taliban are still terrorists as they are terrorizing and killing people. The families of war victims are unlikely to forgive the Taliban members, who are still largely involved in killing people, including students as well as women and children.
With this in mind, the Trump administration should no more boost the confidence of the Taliban fighters through demanding the Kabul government to release their prisoners. The lives of Afghan people matter and western countries claim to be staunch supporters of human rights. Hence, the Taliban fighters should be brought to justice and must not be pardoned or released.