Afghan President Ashraf Ghani holds up the resolution on the last day of an Afghan Loya Jirga or traditional council, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. The council concluded Sunday with hundreds of delegates agreeing to free 400 Taliban members, paving the way for an early start to negotiations between Afghanistan’s warring sides. (AP Photo)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani holds up a resolution on the last day of a traditional council known as a Loya Jirga, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 9. The council concluded with hundreds of delegates agreeing to free 400 Taliban members, paving the way for an early start to negotiations between Afghanistan’s warring sides. AP

To pave the way for historic peace talks, the Afghan government is freeing thousands of Taliban detainees in phases, including men accused of one the deadliest attack in nearly two decades of insurgency: a 2017 truck bombing in Kabul that killed more than 150 people.

“We would like to end this violence,” says Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. “We would like to make sure that the Taliban understands and realizes the opportunity of peace.”

But despite the prisoner release, analysts say the Afghan government has been delaying talks to wait forthe U.S.election results. “The Kabul government does seem to be holding out for a Biden presidency,” says Kate Clark, co-director of the Kabul-based Afghan Analysts Network.

In doing so, the Afghan government risks peace talks collapsing, and could be blamed by its main backer, the United States. The government mayalso anger Afghans who see the release of Taliban prisoners as a hefty sacrifice. Read more on NPR.org

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