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Afghan government says it has freed 490 Taliban prisoners

In this photo released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry official Aftab Khokhar, right, escorts visiting Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, center, for talks at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 2, 2019. Khalilzad has met Pakistani officials to find a peaceful solution to neighboring Afghanistan's war. (Pakistan Foreign Office via AP)

KABUL — The Afghan government says it has freed 490 Taliban prisoners from jails across the country in a gesture of good will as part of efforts to move a stalled peace process forward.

Feroz Bashari, government media centre chief, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the freed Taliban insurgents were either ailing or had less than a year remaining on their prison sentence.

He says they are part of a group of 887 inmates that President Ashraf Ghani ordered freed to mark the Eid-al-Fitr holiday that followed the end of the holy month of Ramadan earlier in June.

He didn’t say when the remaining prisoners would be released.

The development comes as U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is in the Afghan capital of Kabul, trying to revive peace talks.

The Associated Press