US calls Afghan prisoner swap ‘urgent’ amid coronavirus
Washington: The United States on Wednesday pressed the Afghan government and Taliban to move ahead with a delayed plan to free prisoners, saying the coronavirus crisis created urgency.
The US signed a February 29 deal with the Taliban that set in motion the withdrawal of forces and called for the release of captives ahead of talks between the insurgents and the Kabul government.
But the internationally recognized government, which was already reluctant, has put off the release, saying Kabul needed time to review the identities of prisoners.
“The United States would like to see prisoner releases begin as soon as possible in line with the US-Taliban agreement,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator who brokered the deal with the Taliban.
“Coronavirus makes prisoner releases urgent; time is of the essence,” he wrote on Twitter. – AFP