Afghan govt to free 900 prisoners; Taleban may extend truce

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AP) — The Afghan government announced it would free 900 prisoners yesterday, its single largest prisoner release since the United States (US) and the Taleban signed a peace deal earlier this year that spells out an exchange of detainees between the warring sides.

The announcement came as a three-day cease fire with the insurgents draws to an end. The Taleban had called for the truce during Aidilfitri that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan.

There are expectations that the prisoner release could lead to new reductions in violence, and Taleban officials say they are considering an extension of the cease fire.

A senior Taleban figure confirmed this to The Associated Press.

“If these developments, like the announcement of prisoner release continues, it is possible to move forward with decisions like extending the brief cease-fire and to move in a positive direction with some minor issues,” the Taleban official said.

The prisoners were being released from Bagram prison, where the US still maintains a major military base, north of Kabul, as well as from the infamous Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the eastern edge of the Afghan capital.