The Taliban militant group in Afghanistan has quit talks with the government on a prisoner swap after accusing Kabul of delaying the exchange.
A spokesman for the Taliban’s office in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, announced on Twitter that a technical Taliban team would not participate in what he described as “fruitless meetings.”
The prisoner exchange is part of an agreement reached between the US and the militant group in February with hopes for a complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The Afghan government was not a party to the negotiations or the deal, but it has agreed to free the Taliban prisoners. However, the Taliban claims that the release was being “delayed under one pretext or another.”
Under the agreement, the Afghan government is required to ultimately release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and the militant group to free 1,000 government captives.
Last week, Afghan officials that they would release 100 Taliban prisoners who were sick or over the age of 50, and the militant group was expected to free 20 members of the Afghan security forces in return.
But, according to Afghan government officials, the Taliban are demanding the release of top commanders involved in some of the most violent attacks in recent years.