Taliban to Free 20 Afghan Security Force Members

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The Afghan Taliban on Sunday said the insurgent group would set free 20 Afghan soldiers later in the day, a Taliban spokesman confirmed.

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Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, tweeted that the 20 will be handed over to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in southern Kandahar province.

Earlier on Sunday, the Afghan government released 100 Taliban inmates from Bagram prison in eastern Parwan province, bringing to 300 the number of Taliban inmates freed since Wednesday.

On March 11, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole and the release of the first 1,500 prisoners was planned to start on March 14, by freeing 100 prisoners every day, but the process was repeatedly delayed.

The exchange process is part of a peace deal inked between the Taliban and the United States signed in Qatar capital, Doha on Feb. 29.

However, the Afghan government was not a signatory of the deal.

The Taliban also agreed to launch direct peace talks with the government and accepted to free 1,000 Afghan government security force members.

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