Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Taliban, Afghan government need to accelerate release of prisoners and lower violence: Khalilzad

Taliban, Afghan government need to accelerate release of prisoners and lower violence: Khalilzad

The Taliban and the government need to accelerate efforts to release prisoners and lower violence, which is the fastest means to intra-Afghan negotiations and a comprehensive permanent ceasefire, US special envoy said on Saturday.
"Delay means more civilian losses from Afghans fighting each other when the real war should be Afghans united against COVID-19," US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter.
Citing a recent UNAMA report on civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2020, Khalilzad noted that casualties fell 29% from the same period last year and are lower than any first quarter since 2012 due to "momentum created by the Reduction in Violence in late February."
"But civilians still suffer from IEDs, targeted assassinations, and other consequences of the ongoing war. To protect them all sides must act now to end the violence," Khalilzad said.
"Similarly, ANDSF and Taliban casualties fell substantially in the first quarter," Khalilzad said. "But the recent increase in the number and lethality of Taliban attacks endanger these gains."
He said that the violence has generated a violent response from the ANDSF. "The result is an escalatory cycle which is complex but inarguably a negative trend that must be reversed."
The US-Taliban deal stipulated the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 government prisoners by March 10 when intra-Afghan talks would begin.
However, the government has released 550 prisoners and the Taliban has freed 112 so far. (1TV)