Yesterday, the Taliban movement suspended talks with the Afghan government related to the exchange of prisoners, and represented a major step in the peace talks brokered by the United States, while the government of Afghanistan demanded the movement not to sabotage the peace process by making excuses.
The movement said that "its technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings," noting that "the release of the movement's prisoners is being delayed under one pretext or another."
The agreement reached by the United States and the "Taliban" in late February represents the best opportunity yet to stop the 18-year-old war. Under the agreement, the international forces led by Washington will withdraw in return for security guarantees offered by the "Taliban".
The prisoner exchange agreement aims to build confidence between the two sides for these talks, and Javed Faisal, the spokesman for the National Security Council in Kabul, said the government will continue to work on the prison release plan.
He added, "We demand (the Taliban) not to sabotage the peace process by making excuses now."
A move by the Taliban to suspend the talks would lead to an escalation of violence, which in turn would threaten the US troop withdrawal plan, a primary goal of US President Donald Trump.
A team of three Taliban members had arrived in Kabul last month to start the prisoner exchange process, and Afghan officials said last week that they would release 100 Taliban prisoners who were sick or over the age of 50.
In return, the Taliban were expected to release 20 members of the Afghan security forces, and the two sides ultimately aim to release all of the 6000 prisoners in detention.
Afghan government officials said the Taliban were demanding the release of senior leaders involved in some of the most violent attacks in the past few years.
Officials: "Taliban" demands the release of senior leaders involved in violent attacks.