Afghanistan releases almost 200 Taliban prisoners in bid to foster peace talks

Afghanistan has freed nearly 200 Taliban prisoners to spur long-delayed peace talks, as a team of negotiators readies to fly this week to Qatar’s capital, Afghan officials said on Wednesday. The prisoners formed part of a group of 400 jailed “hardcore” Islamist separatists whose stalled release had appeared set to delay talks between the government… Read More Afghanistan releases almost 200 Taliban prisoners in bid to foster peace talks

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signs decree to free Taliban prisoners

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday signed a decree to release a final batch of “hardcore” Taliban prisoners demanded by the militants, sources said, paving the way for long-awaited peace talks to begin in Qatar. “It is signed,” a presidential palace source said. Afghanistan’s grand assembly, or Loya Jirga, on Sunday approved the release, under… Read More Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signs decree to free Taliban prisoners

U.S. envoy meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, former rival Abdullah Abdullah

The United States’ special envoy for Afghanistan on Wednesday met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his former rival Abdullah Abdullah, to discuss progress towards a peace deal with the insurgent Taliban. The meeting was the first between the three men since Ghani and Abdullah ended a months-long political impasse in which both claimed to be… Read More U.S. envoy meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, former rival Abdullah Abdullah

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, rival Abdullah Abdullah sign power-sharing deal

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal to end a months-long political stalemate, Ghani’s spokesman said on Sunday, a step that could smooth efforts to end the country’s long-running war. Abdullah had disputed the results of an election in September and announced the formation of a parallel government earlier… Read More Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, rival Abdullah Abdullah sign power-sharing deal

Afghan government to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners in move for direct talks

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is set to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners in coming days to pave the way for direct talks with the hardline insurgent group that are aimed at ending the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan, according to a decree. The two-page decree – which was signed by Ghani and will be made public later… Read More Afghan government to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners in move for direct talks

Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah sworn in as Afghanistan president in parallel ceremonies

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in for a second term on Monday but his main rival refused to recognize the inauguration and held his own swearing-in ceremony as a rival president. Both Ghani and former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah say they are Afghanistan’s rightful leader following a disputed election last September, a stand-off that… Read More Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah sworn in as Afghanistan president in parallel ceremonies

Afghan presidential rivals delay parallel inauguration ceremonies to continue talks

Afghan President-elect Ashraf Ghani on Monday delayed his planned inauguration ceremony until the afternoon, as his rival Abdullah Abdullah also postponed a scheduled competing swearing-in ceremony. Both men have laid claim to Afghanistan’s leadership following a disputed election in September, a situation that threatens political chaos just days after the United States and the Taliban… Read More Afghan presidential rivals delay parallel inauguration ceremonies to continue talks

Taliban say parallel presidential ceremonies threatens Afghan peace talks progress

The Taliban militant group said peace talks with the Afghan government next week were unlikely to take place because rivals for the presidency were both holding swearing-in ceremonies on Monday, and urged them instead to focus on an end to the war. The United States is trying to push the government toward talks with the… Read More Taliban say parallel presidential ceremonies threatens Afghan peace talks progress