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Afghanistan's Ghani Pledges to Release Captive Taliban in Inauguration Speech – Reports

© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul, FileIn this Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 file photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 file photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan.  - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has vowed to set free the captive members of the Taliban radical movement, Afghan media reported on Monday.

According to 1TV News, Ghani pledged to issue a decree that would release the captive Taliban on Tuesday. According to the broadcast, he expects the move to lessen violence in the country.

In pursuit of recognition, the Taliban have been leading insurgency against the Afghan government since the early 2000s. They also seek all foreign troops to withdraw from the country.

Earlier in the day, Ghani was sworn in as president during an inauguration ceremony in Kabul following a disputed victory in the September presidential election. The rival candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, who has refused to recognize the vote, took an oath in a separate inauguration ceremony at approximately the same time.

The NATO contingent in Afghanistan has been present since 2003 as part of the UN-mandated international coalition known as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help the Afghan national forces maintain security amid the terrorist threat, of which the lion's share has been coming from the Taliban. In 2015, the expired ISAF was replaced by the Resolute Support Mission with a mandate of non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.

On February 29, Washington and the Taliban signed the long-awaited peace agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha which, among other things, sets the beginning of intra-Afghan talks on March 10, subject to 5,000 Taliban prisoners to be released by that time.

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