President Ghani stresses transparent mechanism for prisoners’ swap

KABUL: Addressing a ceremony inaugurating the second year and 17th legislative period of the National Assembly here on Sunday, President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned Saturday attack on a gathering marking martyrdom anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari in west of Kabul.

Pointing to US-Taliban peace deal, President Ghani said there was a need for a “transparent mechanism” to release the Taliban prisoner, adding that he welcomes those part of the agreement that pointed to reduction of violence as well as stressed on intra-Afghan talks.

Calling the current condition “critical” in terms of an opportunity for peace, President Ghani said the people’s request is that there should be an executive guarantee so that these people (prisoners) will not return to violence once they are released.

President Ghani also said discussions were made last week about the negotiating team. “Our negotiating team will be ready by March 10,” he added.

The President also called on MPs to announce a selection of two members from the Meshrano Jirga (including one woman) and five members of the Wolesi Jirga (including two women) to participate in the High Council of Reconciliation.

“Afghanistan is in a critical stage and is in dire need of unity. We can only overcome challenges with the perspective of national unity,” President Ghani added.

Saturday’s event was attended by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish and members of the two parliament houses – the Wolesi Jirga and the Meshrano Jirga. 

Based on the US-Taliban agreement signed on Feb. 29 in Qatar, up to 5,000 prisoners of the Taliban in the Afghan government’s custody should be released by March 10 ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations.  

The Kabul Times

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