Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday that a seven-day partial truce would continue, but he rejected a key component of a new US-Taliban deal that calls for the release of thousands of insurgent prisoners.
The so-called “reduction in violence” period ran for the week preceding the signing of an accord between the US and the Taliban in Doha on Saturday.
“The reduction in violence will continue with a goal to reach a full ceasefire,” Ghani told a press conference. “General (Scott) Miller has told Taliban to do so. It is expected (to continue),” he added, referring to the US commander in charge of foreign forces in Afghanistan.
But, in a sign of a bumpy road ahead, Ghani pushed back against a clause in the deal that calls for the Taliban to release up to 1,000 prisoners and for the Afghan government to release up to 5,000 prisoners.
“There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 prisoners,” Ghani said. “This is the right and the self-will of the people of Afghanistan. It could be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, but cannot be a prerequisite for talks.” He added that any prisoner release was “not in the authority of the US, it is in the authority of the Afghan government.”