Afghanistan to Release 400 Taliban Prisoners to Push Peace Talks

Afghanistan’s government will release hardened Taliban prisoners to clear the final hurdle for direct peace talks with the insurgent group and end the 19-year war.

President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said he would accept the recommendation of the Loya Jirga, a grand national assembly of 3,400 influential members of society, which sought to free 400 Taliban prisoners “in order to remove the obstacles to the start of peace talks, stop the bloodshed and serve the common good.”

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In This Story: Afghanistan

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.

Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.

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