Afghans set to release 1,500 Taliban; US wants less violence

After a series of delays, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree early on March 11 promising to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture to get intra-Afghan negotiations started.

A recent peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban called for the release of up to 5,000 prisoners ahead of the much sought-after negotiations.

ISIL attacks Kabul gathering, killing at least 32

ISIL opened fire at a ceremony in Kabul on March 6, killing at least 32 people in the first major attack in the city since the United States reached an agreement with the Afghan Taliban on a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.

A top Afghan political leader, Abdullah Abdullah, was present along with other key political figures and escaped unharmed.

The Taliban will not Negotiate with Kabul until it Releases Thousands of Taliban from Prisons

The Taliban will not negotiate with the government in Kabul until about 5,000 of their associates are released from Afghan prisons, said a Taliban spokesman, quoted by the Associated Press. The statement was made at a time when the deadline for reducing hostilities in Afghanistan is expiring.