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Kabul Frees Dozens More Taliban Prisoners In Step Toward Peace Talks


A newly freed Taliban prisoner hugs his relatives outside Bagram Prison, north of Kabul, on April 8.

KABUL -- Afghanistan says it has released another 71 Taliban prisoners in a further step toward bringing the two sides together to negotiate a peace settlement.

Javed Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a tweet that detainees had been released from seven prisons in the Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Nuristan, Faryab, Uruzgan, and Baghlan provinces.

The Kabul government has released a total of 432 Taliban inmates since April 8.

A pact signed by the United States and the Taliban on February 29 calls for the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban fighters as a confidence-building measure ahead of formal peace talks aimed at ending the 18-year conflict in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has vowed to release some 1,000 Afghan government troops and civilian workers it is holding.

Since April 12, the militants have released 60 Afghan security and defense personnel.

The prisoner swap was scheduled to be completed by March 10, before the start of intra-Afghan peace talks, but it has been delayed by disputes between the sides.

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