Afghan authorities have freed hundreds more Taliban prisoners, as calls grew for the Taliban to extend a ceasefire on its third and final day. The release is part of a pledge by the Afghan government to free up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners in response to the Taliban´s three-day ceasefire offer, which began Sunday to mark the Eidul Fitr.
Abdul Wasi, 27, from Kandahar province, much of which is under the Taliban control, said he was a “holy warrior” when he was detained eight years ago. “I was told … to do jihad until all foreign troops are driven out of our country,” Wasi, sporting a long beard and wearing a traditional baggy shirt-and-trouser shalwar kameez, told AFP moments after he was freed.
He said he was happy about the US-Taliban deal paving way for all foreign forces to quit Afghanistan by May next year, and that he wanted a permanent ceasefire. “If the foreign troops exit, we won´t fight,” he said as he boarded a Kabul-bound bus along with other freed Taliban members. The prisoners had signed written pledges not to return to the battlefield, but Qari Mohammadullah, another freed inmate, vowed to continue fighting if foreign forces remain in Afghanistan. “We don´t want foreigners to stay any longer in our country, they must leave immediately,” Mohammadullah said.