05:39 GMT09 April 2020
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    On Saturday, the US and the Taliban signed a peace deal in Doha that will see US and allied troops pull out from Afghanistan over the next 14 months. The US will reduce its military presence to 8,600 troops in the next 135 days.

    The president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, has rejected demands to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners before the inter-Afghan negotiations begin.

    "This could be part of the negotiations between Afghans, but it cannot be a precondition for these talks," said Ghani, quoted by the Ariana News channel, during a press conference held on Sunday.

    Speaking about the possibility of a prisoner exchange, Ghani said that it was the responsibility of the Afghan government and not of the United States to release jailed Taliban members.

    The long-awaited deal inked on Saturday culminated a seven-day cooling-off period that saw a drop in the number of militant attacks in Afghanistan. Pentagon chief Mark Esper said the pact would pave the way for a permanent ceasefire. 

    The deal sets the beginning of talks for 10 March, provided that up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners are released from jail by that time. The Taliban has pledged that the released prisoners will not pose a threat to the security of the US and its allies.

    peace, Taliban, United States, Afghanistan
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