Taliban offer ceasefire in return for prisoner release


An Afghan government negotiator on Thursday said the Taliban had offered a three-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of 7,000 insurgent prison-ers, as the militant group continues a sweeping of-fensive across the country.

“It is a big demand,” Nader Nadery said, adding that the insurgents have also demanded the removal of the Taliban’s leaders from a United Nations black-list.

A senior insurgent leader had said on Tuesday that the Taliban do not want to battle government forces inside Afghanistan’s cities and would rather see them surrender.

The hardline group has swept through much of the north as foreign troops complete their withdrawal, and the Afghan government now holds little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that must largely be resupplied by air.

Earlier, the head of a Taliban commission that over-sees government forces who surrender had urged residents of Afghanistan’s cities to reach out to them. As foreign forces wind up their withdrawal, the situation on the ground is changing rapidly.

The top US general in Afghanistan relinquished his command on Monday at a ceremony in the capital, the latest symbolic gesture bringing America’s long-est war nearer to an end.—AFP


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