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Pompeo Welcomes Afghan-Taliban Truce
By Staff, Agencies
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo discussed the current situation in Afghanistan with chief Taliban negotiator in Doha Mullah Baradar Akhund, the group’s spokesman announced on Twitter Monday.
Suhail Shaheen said that the two spoke in a video call, touching upon the issue of prisoner releases in the country.
Pompeo also welcomed the three-day truce announced in the country to honor the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Shaheen said.
The truce, which came into effect Friday, prompted the Afghan government to announce that it would shortly complete the release of some 5,000 Taliban prisoners it was to set free under a US-Taliban deal signed in Doha in late February.
Kabul also said it was hoping to start the long-delayed direct peace talks with the extremists within a week.
The ceasefire largely held, giving war-torn Afghanistan several days of a relative lull until shots were fired in the city of Jalalabad as gunmen attacked a local prison holding some 1,700 Taliban and Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorists.
The attack, which, as Kabul said Monday, left at least 29 people killed, was claimed by Daesh, which maintains a presence in the country.
As a result of the raid, about 1,000 prisoners managed to flee. Most of them were subsequently re-arrested.
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