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PublishDate: Tuesday, March 3, 2020 19:49

Kabul asks Taliban to break ties with Pakistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday linked the release of Taliban prisoners with the group first breaking ties with neighboring Pakistan. 
Addressing a public gathering in the eastern Nangarhar province, Ghani said Afghan Taliban could not justify their insurgency after inking a peace deal with the U.S.
“You [Taliban leaders] have made peace with the foreigners so what does your jihad mean now … killing of fellow Afghans is a crime,” the Afghan president said, who has expressed reservations over the peace agreement.
"If Taliban have set release of their prisoners as a condition for intra-Afghan talks, we also have conditions; they [Taliban] should tell me when are they going to leave [break ties with] Pakistan."
The landmark deal signed in Doha, Qatar on Feb. 29 lays out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months. 
The agreement is expected to lead to dialogue between the Taliban and the Kabul government, seeking an end to the armed conflict that began in 2001. 
Taliban agreed to halt attacks in the war-torn country in return for a prisoner swap and the U.S. lifting sanctions against them.
Ghani has objected to these arrangements that would see the Afghan government releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners as a condition for direct talks between the two sides.
Taliban, meanwhile, announced resuming attacks on Afghan forces after implementing a 7-day “Reduction in Violence” pact last week.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Anadolu Agency that the proposed intra-Afghan talks would only begin once their prisoners were freed.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Afghan citizens took to the streets in various cities to protest against the Taliban announcement.
The UN, EU and the U.S., on the other hand, urged the insurgents to adhere to the peace agreement that was reached after years of negotiations between multiple stakeholders, including Pakistan.
“Following the Taliban’s reported resumption of military operations, the UN calls for continued reduced violence to maintain & enhance an environment conducive to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, which should lead to a permanent ceasefire and a lasting political settlement,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.
Islamabad, which played a key role in brokering the deal, has urged Kabul and the Afghan Taliban to show flexibility and move forward with the peace deal.
In a statement, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the clause for the exchange of prisoners was part of the U.S.-Taliban deal and that the Afghan president should "ask America for an explanation" on it.

 
 
 

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