(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) DOHA - Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem on Monday dismissed claims that 85 percent of the Taliban prisoners freed last year have returned to the battlefield.
'These remarks are not true … Kabul administration always make such remarks, said Naeem, adding that some of the former inmates have been re-arrested without having committed crimes.
This comes after First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Sunday that 85 percent of the over 5,500 Taliban prisoners freed in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement last year had returned to the battlefield.
Saleh also said that many of them had been rearrested or killed by Afghan forces during clashes.
'The issue is verified not only by the Afghan forces but international partners also verified it. Video and audio clips also reveal that they started their activities again, said Zabiullah Adel, an official in Saleh's office.
Meanwhile, sources at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) also said that many of the freed prisoners had returned to the battlefield.
'It is clear that Taliban (fighters) returned to the battlefield again; their numbers need to be investigated. It is clear that they want war in Afghanistan, said Sarwar Naizai, a political analyst.
'The end of war is not like this, one day one person is released and the next day he is arrested again. This issue forces other Taliban to join the battlefield again, said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member.
In February last year the US signed a deal with the Taliban on the withdrawal of troops. The Afghan government was not party to the agreement but was required to release over 5,500 Taliban prisoners in exchange for a reduction in violence on the Taliban's part and the start of peace talks.
Government released the prisoners, however there has been no reduction in violence and the peace talks in Doha have all but stalled after the Taliban failed to return to the talks tables after a three week break over December. (ATN)
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