On Wednesday, the Afghan authorities confirmed that they would not release hundreds of Taliban prisoners whom they deemed to be "very dangerous", despite the stalling of the upcoming peace talks on the exchange of prisoners.
Under the terms of the Taliban and the United States agreement last February, Kabul pledged to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, in a prisoner exchange that also included the release of the movement of about a thousand of its captured Afghan security forces.
But National Security Council spokesman Javed Faisal told the French Press Agency that "serious criminal cases" were still open to 600 prisoners the Taliban had requested for their release.
Another government official, who preferred not to be named, said that the number includes people accused of murder and robbery on highways and sodomy, among whom are also hundreds of foreign fighters, and explained that they are "extremely dangerous that they cannot be released."
On Wednesday, the Taliban accused the government of fabricating criminal cases against the prisoners, and its spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said, "If they continue to create more problems in this regard, this indicates that they do not want to solve the cases in reasonable ways."
But the National Security Council spokesman insisted that the government was committed to the talks.
"We are ready for peace and we will release the remaining prisoners according to the agreement, but hundreds of prisoners who have serious criminal cases in the courts will not be released," he said.
The two sides pledged to hold direct talks aimed at ending the decades-old conflict in Afghanistan, after completing the exchange.
The government has already released more than 4,000 Taliban fighters, while the movement has in turn released two-thirds of the agreed numbers.
Earlier this week, a senior Afghan official said it was up to the authorities to decide who should be released.
"We do not expect the Taliban to tell us about the prisoners who will be released," said Siddiq Siddiqui, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani.
It is noteworthy that the Taliban and the United States signed on February 29 in the Qatari capital, Doha, an agreement that paves the way - according to a timetable - for the gradual withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, in exchange for guarantees from the movement.
The agreement provides for the release of about 5,000 Taliban prisoners, compared to about a thousand prisoners from government forces, in a move that precedes any peace negotiations between the movement and the government.