Released As Part Of The U.S.-Taliban Deal, Jihadis Return To Fighting, Afghan Defense Minister Says Taliban ‘Are Killing Afghan Citizens In The Name Of Islam’ But Are ‘At Peace with The Americans’

On February 29, 2020, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) and the United States signed a deal in Doha, Qatar, which requires, among other points, the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban members from various prisons in Afghanistan. The Afghan government, which was not a party to the U.S.-Taliban deal, has been pressured by the United States to release the prisoners named by the Taliban.

However, it has now emerged that the freed Taliban terrorists have returned to fighting. On July 24, 2020, the Afghan military released photos of two Taliban fighters released a few weeks ago.

According to a report by Afghan news website, the terrorists were arrested during a security operation in Sheesha Khana area of Faizabad district in Jawzjan province. The report noted that after being freed from prisons, they took an oath on the Koran to re-join the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the acting Afghan Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid expressed concern that the Taliban “are killing Afghan citizens in the name of Islam” but are “at peace with the Americans,” referring to the Taliban’s deal with the U.S. “I do not know what reason (the Taliban) have for fighting with Afghan and Muslim soldiers, but they say they have a ceasefire with the Americans,” the minister added.

Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said: “All the children of their elders [i.e., of the Taliban leaders] are studying in [the Pakistani cities of] Karachi, Quetta, and Islamabad and have no acquaintance with their own country, but they (Taliban) themselves come and destroy their country. I tell the Taliban leaders to abandon this shameful life.”

General Yasin Zia, the newly appointed Afghan army chief, said: “If you (Taliban) make peace, we will wait for you with warm hugs, and if you fight, we will wait for you with warm bullets.” The Afghan government has been insisting that out of the 5,000, some 600 Taliban prisoners have extreme criminal profile and the Taliban should nominate other prisoners.

The release of the Taliban prisoners is a precondition for the start of intra-Afghan talks in Doha, which are likely to pave the way for the Taliban to share power in Kabul and shape the Afghan government and the military on Islamic shari’a lines.