Afghan Government Unconditionally Released Hundreds of Taliban Prisoners

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry official Aftab Khokhar right escorts visiting Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad center for talks at the Foreign Office in Islamabad Pakistan

The Taliban have held talks with prominent Afghans, including former president Hamid Karza and members of opposition political parties, but so far they have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, calling them USA puppets.

They are among 887 prisoners President Ashraf Ghani promised to free early this month as he marked the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq website. Historically, Taliban prisoners who have been freed from Afghan prisons have returned to the battlefield. "It has been unmoved by such gestures in the past, and are likely to ignore the latest".

Apparently, the mass release of Taliban fighters was not a one-time incident.

In this photo released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry official Aftab Khokhar, right, escorts visiting Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, center, for talks at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 2, 2019.

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It is not clear exactly how many Taliban operatives are jailed, but one former Afghan official estimated that some 20,000 are languishing behind bars.

As talks between USA officials and Taliban leaders have intensified in recent months aimed at bringing and end to more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan, fighting and insurgent attacks continue to take place across the country.

Mr Khalilzad is in the country now to meet political leaders and members of civil society in the hope of launching intra-Afghan talks with the Taleban.

A resolution still seems far off, with the two sides struggling to agree on several key points.

Nine civilians, including three children, were also injured in the attack. It will give the Taliban a boost in fighting capacity as it continues to press its spring offensive and increase the amount of territory and Afghans it influences.

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