France asks Afghans not to free the Taliban who killed its citizens | News

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France opposed the release of three men jailed for the murders of French nationals in Afghanistan as part of Kabul’s decision to release 400 Taliban prisoners, last phase of meeting a condition set out in an agreement between the Taliban and the US government.

The group of prisoners, whose release has begun, include two men who murdered Bettina Goislard, an employee of the United Nations refugee agency, in November 2003, and a former Afghan soldier who killed five French soldiers and in injured 13 others in Kapisa province eight years ago. .

“France is particularly concerned by the presence, among those likely to be released, of several terrorists convicted of having killed French people in Afghanistan,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Afghan government and Taliban expected to meet to launch an intra-Afghan peace process days after the release of the prisoners ended, a move that drew widespread condemnation after it emerged that many detainees were involved in attacks that killed dozens of Afghans and foreigners.

“He firmly opposes the release of individuals convicted of crimes against French nationals, in particular soldiers and aid workers,” he said.

“Consequently, we immediately called on the Afghan authorities not to proceed with the release of these terrorists. ”

Goislard’s family also strongly denounced this decision.

The release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 captive Afghan security agents was agreed to in a landmark agreement between the United States and the Taliban in February as a condition of intra-Afghan peace talks.

The disagreement over the release of the prisoners, which includes people accused in connection with some of the bloodiest attacks in Afghanistan, has already delayed peace negotiations by months.

The Afghan government had released nearly all of the Taliban prisoners on the list, but authorities were reluctant to release the remaining 400.

Many detainees are charged with serious offenses, including more than 150 in the death row.

The list also includes a group of 44 fighters who are particularly concerned about the United States and other countries for their role in the “high level” attacks.

Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed to release the 400 Taliban prisoners after a large Afghan assembly known as Loya Jirga passed a resolution endorsing the decision.

Thousands of people from across Afghanistan attend the Loya Jirga to discuss the 400 Taliban prisoners and the future of the peace talks [Andalou]

“Now the Taliban have a choice – they must demonstrate that they are not afraid of a comprehensive ceasefire. There is no great bravery required for war, but for peace, ”Ghani said at the closing ceremony of the Loya Jirga.

During this extraordinary meeting, more than 3,000 public figures from across the country supported the government’s calls for a permanent ceasefire and international guarantees that combatants would no longer resort to violence.

He also called on the two sides to start the much delayed intra-Afghan talks.

On Friday, the Afghan government said it had released the first 80 of the 400 Taliban prisoners in anticipation of direct negotiations between the two sides.

Talks are expected to take place in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office.

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