World News

Afghan President Ghani to issue decree on Taliban prisoner release this week

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during his inauguration as president, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will issue a decree for at least 1,000 Taliban prisoners to be released this week, five official sources said on Monday, paving the way for opening direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgents.

Two Afghan sources said the decree will permit the release of old, ageing Taliban prisoners, a decision that comes hours after Ghani was sworn in as president for a second term.

The Taliban wants Ghani to release 5,000 prisoners as a pre-condition to hold talks with the Afghan government.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in Kabul, Jonathan Landay in Washington, Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Leslie Adler