400 ‘hardcore’ Taliban prisoners to be freed, US to cut troops

KABUL: An Afghan grand assembly, known as the Loya Jirga, on Sunday approved the release of 400 “hard-core” Taliban prisoners, a resolution said, paving the way for the beginning of peace talks in the war-torn country.

“In order to remove an obstacle, the start of the peace process and an end of bloodshed, the Loya Jirga approves the release of 400 Taliban,” the resolution said.

The Afghan government convened the assembly in Kabul on Friday to decide the fate of hundreds of prisoners the Taliban insist should be released before entering peace talks with the government.

In WASHINGTON. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the United States plans to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, adding detail to drawdown plans US President Donald Trump announced earlier this week.

The United States currently has about 8,600 troops in Afghanistan. Trump said in an interview that the United States planned to lower that number to about 4,000. – Aug 9, 2020, Reuters

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