Afghan Taliban offer three-month ceasefire in return for prisoner release

Insurgents have also demanded removal of the their leaders from UN blacklist, says official


AFP July 15, 2021
A Taliban delegation holds a press conference after a meeting with Zamir Kabulov. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL:

An Afghan government negotiator on Thursday said the Taliban had offered a three-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of 7,000 insurgent prisoners, as the militant group continues a sweeping offensive 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 blacklist.

The development comes a day after Afghan senior government official claimed that they have retaken control of a major southern border crossing with Pakistan that the Taliban briefly captured on Wednesday.

However, the Taliban dismissed the claim saying they still held the town.

Taliban fighters captured the Spin Boldak-Chaman border crossing on Wednesday, the second most important crossing on the border with Pakistan and a major source of revenue for the Western-backed government in Kabul.

But Afghan forces retook the area's main market, the customs department and other government installations in the border town a few hours later on Wednesday, a senior government official in the southern province of Kandahar, where the crossing is located, told Reuters.

Government forces, who had initially fallen back to minimise civilian and security personnel losses, were conducting clearing operations, the official said.

He warned that the threat remained high as Taliban fighters outnumbered Afghan security forces in the area.

But Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said his forces still held the border post.

"It is merely propaganda and a baseless claim by the Kabul administration," he told Reuters.

Pakistan, worried about a spillover of fighting, had shut its side of the border at the second busiest border crossing on the main commercial artery between the second Afghan city of Kandahar and Pakistani ports.

Clashes between the Taliban and government forces have intensified as US-led international forces have been withdrawing and the Taliban have captured several districts and other border crossings in the north and west.

(With input from Reuters)

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read