US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo expressed gratitude to Kabul for the initiative to release from prison 2 thousand supporters of the Taliban radical movement (banned in Russia). This was announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter.
He reported on three-way telephone conversations with Pompeo and the head of the Supreme Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah.
Ghani added that Pompeo indicated Washington's desire "to seek a long-term cease-fire [in Afghanistan] and start direct [inter-Afghan] negotiations."
The President of Afghanistan announced his intention to free up to 2 thousand supporters of the Taliban as a sign of good will in response to the Taliban announced a truce for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr (Uraza-Bayram) the day before.
Ghani welcomed the announcement of a three-day cease-fire by the Taliban and instructed the country's security forces to maintain a temporary truce.
Ghani announced a temporary suspension of the process of releasing imprisoned Taliban fighters due to the Taliban's delay in transferring captured Afghan soldiers to the government in Kabul on May 11. At that time, according to the Afghan authorities, they released a thousand Talibans from prison, while the Taliban handed over to the authorities only 105 soldiers who were held captive by the radicals.
The exchange of prisoners is one of the key terms of the peace agreement that Kabul and the Taliban signed in Doha on February 29. The document also suggests launching peace talks, which should begin after the exchange is completed.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry