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Kabul to open traditional council on release of 400 Taliban

7/8/2020 13:15
        A traditional council is to open Friday in the Afghan capital to decide the release of a final 400 Taliban - the last hurdle to the start of negotiations between Kabul's political leadership and the Taliban in keeping with a peace deal the United States signed with the insurgent movement in February.
        
        The negotiations are a critical step toward lasting peace in Afghanistan. The talks will decide what a peaceful Afghanistan might look like, what constitutional changes will be made, how the rights of women and minorities will be protected and the fate of the tens of thousands of heavily armed men on both sides of the conflict. As well as Taliban fighters, warlords in Kabul maintain thousands of armed militias loyal to them.
        
        The U.S. in a statement issued late on Wednesday said it welcomed the traditional council, or jirga, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also seemed to make it clear that the 400 prisoners had to be released if peace talks with the Taliban were to move forward.
        



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