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Afghan ceasefire holds for third day as hundreds of Taliban prisoners freed

A ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban was held for the third and final day on Sunday after hundreds of militant prisoners released in a bid to bring peace talks closer.

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The truce began on Friday to mark Eil al-Adha and country witnessed no clashes between the two forces since the ceasefire began. 

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and Taliban have hinted that the negotiations could resume after Eid. 

“This Eid feels different, parks are full with people… you almost forget that there has been a war in this country for 40 years,” said Shahpoor Shadab, a resident from the eastern city of Jalalabad.

The is  only the third official halt in fighting in nearly two decades of conflict. Resdients in Zabul province recited poeams in order to make the ceasefire permanent.

“Peace is everybody’s need and aspiration,” said Sardar Wali, who took part in the poetry session.

“This is a great opportunity to extend the ceasefire today and start intra-Afghan talks tomorrow.”

In February, US and Taliban signed a deal which slated the “intra-Afghan” talks on March. But these talks were delayed amid political infighting in Kabul and as a contentious prisoner swap dragged on.

The deal stipulated that Kabul would free around 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for 1,000 Afghan security personnel held captive by the Taliban.

The National Security Council said Sunday that a further 300 Taliban prisoners had been released since Friday, taking the total number of insurgents freed so far to just over 4,900.

According to the Taliban, their part of the exchange is fulfilled. 

Source: Thanks