Afghan logistics team heads to Doha as Taleban inmates freed

KABUL (AFP) – The Afghan government despatched a “technical team” to Qatar to prepare for long-delayed peace talks as authorities pressed ahead with the release of Taleban inmates, officials said yesterday.

Kabul broke an impasse with the insurgent group on Monday by resuming a protracted prisoner exchange, a key hurdle in the two warring sides launching negotiations in Doha. “The process of releasing the Taleban prisoners will continue today too,” a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, the body leading the peace process, confirmed the ongoing release. “Obstacles have been removed,” said spokesman Firdon Khawzon.

“The prisoners’ exchange will be completed soon.”

Kabul had baulked at the release of the final 400 Taleban inmates who President Ashraf Ghani said were “a danger to the world”.

Their release was also opposed by Paris and Canberra because those on the list included militants tied to the killing of French and Australian civilians and troops in Afghanistan.