Taliban suspends prisoner exchange talks with Afghan govt, recalls negotiators
The Taliban on Tuesday recalled its negotiators from Afghanistan hours after they suspended talks on a prisoner exchange process with the Afghan government, a spokesman for the Islamist group tweeted.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Qatar, cited “the intentional delays” in the release of prisoners, Reuters reported. This violates the peace agreement with the US, he said, adding that the insurgent group was calling back the technical team from Kabul.
The US and the Taliban signed an accord in February, under which US-led international forces will withdraw in phases in exchange for Taliban security guarantees. The Taliban suspension of the talks could lead to an escalation of violence, which in turn could threaten the plan to withdraw US troops.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said progress had been made since he visited Kabul on March 23 to press Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah to end a feud over the results of a disputed September election.