- As the conversation progresses, the Taliban prisoners will be released soon.
- Presidential rivals Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory and held rival inaugurals.
- The US envoy is mediating the sharing of power between the two leaders.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced the release of 1,500 Taliban prisoners. The prisoners will be released to pursue peacekeeping with the Taliban. As per the order issued by the President, the process of releasing 1500 prisoners will be started on Saturday. The US has welcomed the initiative, while the Taliban have not yet responded.
As the conversation progresses, the Taliban prisoners will be released soon. Recently, the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement on peacekeeping in Afghanistan. The second phase of talks was scheduled to begin in late March, but may be delayed now. On the other hand, US military forces have already begun to leave Afghanistan.
Blast at the Oath
Afghanistan’s two main presidential candidates have claimed victory in the recent election. The two leaders held presidential inauguration ceremonies in different places. Ashraf Ghani, who has been the president since 2014, was sworn in at the Presidential Palace, while Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah took the oath at Sapedar Palace.
Meanwhile, a blast occurred near Ghani’s swearing-in ceremony, according to news sources. However, no details have yet been revealed of anyone’s injuries. According to Reuters, the Islamic State is reported to have targeted Ghani’s swearing-in with a rocket.
Reuters cited a person present at the scene, saying there were no damages. Ghani continued his speech even after the blast. The rocket allegedly hit a compound wall near the swearing-in ceremony. The election commission said, “Ashraf Ghani won the election in September elections with a small majority.” However, Ghani’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, called the outcome a fraud.
Such a situation has arisen when the United States is now ready to hold peace talks with the Taliban after years of violence. After the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s intervention before the swearing-in ceremony, Abdullah’s team said they were ready to cancel the program. However, Abdullah still held an oath-taking ceremony.
The US envoy is mediating the sharing of power between the two leaders. This type of political situation comes after Saturday’s bombing in Kabul. Suicide attacks by Islamic State extremists killed 32 people, and Abdullah was rescued. This was the first major attack since the US and the Taliban signed a treaty.
The event was organized on the occasion of the 25th death anniversary of the Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who died at the hands of the Taliban. The program was also broadcast live. According to police, the shooting took place from a building near the site of the program. Government officials have confirmed that at least 60 people have been injured in the shootings so far.
Special security forces fled as soon as the incident was reported and two attackers were killed, according to the Home Ministry
An Afghan man told AFP, “It is impossible to have two presidents in one country. They should discuss this with each other instead of organizing two swearing-in ceremonies.” Experts warn that the current political upheaval can have a serious impact on Afghanistan’s internal situation.