June 4th, 2010
08:39 AM ET

Jirga delegates: Taliban prisoners should be freed

Delegates to a peace conference in Afghanistan asked Friday that Taliban prisoners be freed from Afghan and international detention centers. They also urged the Taliban to cut its ties with al Qaeda.

The suggestions are among 200 that delegates to the conference, or jirga, made to authorities.

The delegates also recommended that names of all Taliban members be removed from blacklists maintained by the United States and United Nations. Those lists contain the names of suspected militants that U.S. authorities and their allies would like to arrest.

The delegates called for the release of any prisoners currently being held for giving faulty information to NATO forces, and they urged international forces to stop searches of private homes without adequate reason. They also advised U.S.-led forces to accelerate their training of the Afghan military in advance of the anticipated handover of security responsibilities.

At the same time, they called for the establishment of a peace council comprised of various representatives of provincial councils as well as different tribal leaders and religious scholars. The council, they said, should create a committee to help facilitate the release and reintegration of prisoners.

The delegates also condemned the recent Israeli raid on a flotilla attempting to break through Israel's Gaza blockade.

The recommendations follow several days of meetings involving delegates from around Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai planned the peace gathering with tribal leaders to discuss a reintegration plan for Taliban members who renounce violence and lay down their arms.

The Taliban released a press statement a day before the attack, calling the peace meeting a "foreign scripted peace jirga."

Suspected militants fired rockets, detonated explosives and engaged in an intense gun battle with security forces Wednesday as Karzai spoke at the peace meeting nearby.

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Filed under: Peace jirga • Taliban
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