Kabul begins release of final 400 Taliban prisoners, talks to follow2Photo© news18.com

Kabul begins release of final 400 Taliban prisoners, talks to follow

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Afghanistan has released the first 80 of a final 400 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for negotiations between the warring sides in Afghanistan's protracted conflict, the government said Friday.

Javid Faisal, spokesman for the National Security Council's office, made the announcement.

Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media, said 86 prisoners were freed. It wasn't immediately known when the remaining prisoners would be freed.

Prisoner releases on both sides are part of an agreement signed in February between the US and Taliban. It calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban held by the government and 1,000 government and military personnel held by the insurgent group as a good will gesture ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations.