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Afghan prisoners freed in gesture of goodwill, official says

From Matiullah Mati, CNN
In this March 7, 2010 photograph, Afghan prisoners show their volleyball skills to local and international media at Pul-e Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul.
In this March 7, 2010 photograph, Afghan prisoners show their volleyball skills to local and international media at Pul-e Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Peace jirga last month set stage for key moves
  • Prisoner releases, plans to trim blacklist
  • Security Council delegation, Karzai meet
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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghanistan has announced the freeing of prisoners and the United Nations' intentions to remove some Taliban members from a terror blacklist, efforts that come on the heels of a recent nationwide peace conference, government officials said on Tuesday.

More than 25 prisoners have been freed in a move to get militants to lay down their arms, a government official told CNN Tuesday.

Dr. Mohammad Zasim Hashimzai, Afghanistan's deputy minister of justice and legal affairs, said more than 25 prisoners have been freed in a move to get militants to lay down their arms.

The gesture of goodwill was made after a presidential decree based on principles set down in the country's recent peace jirga, or national conference of tribal and religious leaders earlier this month.

The jirga said that the Afghan government and international forces, as a gesture of free will, should take "immediate and solid action in freeing" people whose incarcerations have been based on "inaccurate information or unsubstantiated allegations."

In a related move, the United Nations said it will remove those Taliban members not connected with al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from a blacklist.

President Hamid Karzai's office said in a press release that a Security Council delegation met with him and will make the removals in a "step-by-step" manner in agreement with the Afghan government. The jirga called for the removal of militants from such a list.

The meeting, at the presidential palace, discussed the peace jirga, corruption, militant reconciliation and reintegration, counter-terrorism and next month's international conference in Kabul.