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Under Ghani, Abdullah Could Oversee Negotiations With Taliban, Release Of Prisoners: Reports

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President Ashraf Ghani, who took the oath of office for president for a second term on Monday said he will form a negotiating team and pledged to issue a decree on the release of 5000 Taliban prisoners.

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The release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners is part of the US-Taliban peace deal that is expected to open up doors for intra-Afghan negotiations.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the US chargé d’affaires Ross Wilson, the US and NATO forces commander Gen. Scott Miller and the ambassadors of the EU, Canada, Australia, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Turkmenistan India, and Pakistan attended the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace according to TOLOnews.

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“I will issue a decree tomorrow on the details of the process,” Ghani said, referring to the prisoners’ release. “Fortunately, we have achieved a framework so that there is a comprehensive reduction in violence in exchange for the prisoners’ release.” He said the negotiating team will be finalized on Tuesday.

“This negotiating team has been finalized after discussions with influential members of the civil society, women, youths and representatives of the ulema and different levels of people,” Ghani added. He also said that his new cabinet will be formed within the next two weeks.

“The government that I will form in the near future will not be a monopoly of the State Builder team (Ghani’s campaign team),” he added. “The end of the election is the victorious views and thoughts of the republic.”

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Earlier, Ghani was declared the winner by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) amid controversy involving technical problems and allegations of fraud. Abdullah, citing “fraud” in the process, has held a swearing-ceremony for himself as well.

According to TOLOnews, President Ghani had offered a power-sharing plan to Chief Executive Abdullah in the areas of security, governance and peace. President Ghani offered 40% of his cabinet, including one National Security Council member post, to be filled with Abdullah allies, and he also offered the chairmanship of a “Supreme Peace Council” to Abdullah, which would engage in negotiations with the Taliban.

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