News - Afghanistan


Taliban take up weapons again and join the insurgents after they are released from Afghan prisons, the parliament's first deputy speaker Abdul Zahir Qadir said Saturday.

The prisoners are released under the auspices of the High Peace Council (HPC) as part of a program to strengthen the peace process. But Qadir said the peace program is contributing to instability.

"The peace process is a failed process. Where do the Taliban who are released go? They start insurgent activities again," Qadir said.

But HPC officials pushed back at the deputy speaker's remarks and said that most of those released lead "normal lives" and that the few who rejoin the insurgency don't have a negative impact on security.

"Most of the released Taliban members start normal lives, but a few of them join the Taliban, which does not have a negative effect on the peace process and doesn't worsen the security situation," said Shahzada Shahid of the HPC.

The defense ministry said that the prisoners are released when there's no evidence against them.

"The Taliban's release is based on the laws and when there is insufficient evidence to keep them in prison," said Gen. Zahir Azimi, defense ministry spokesman.

A number of Taliban commanders released in the past are known to have joined the insurgents. Mawlawi Abdul Qayoum, released by presidential decree, is back with the insurgents.

Mawlawi Dastgir, released at the behest of Badghis tribal elders, was responsible for plotting an attack that killed 100 people. He was killed in a US air strike.

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