The stalled release of prisoners has delayed talks between Afghanistan's government and the militant group but negotiations are expected to begin once the inmate impasse is overcome.

A newly freed Taliban prisoner (L) stands for processing at Pul-e-Charkhi prison, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 13, 2020
A newly freed Taliban prisoner (L) stands for processing at Pul-e-Charkhi prison, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 13, 2020 (Reuters)

Afghanistan has dispatched a "technical team" to Qatar to prepare for long-delayed peace talks following the release of 200 Taliban inmates.

The stalled release of these prisoners had delayed talks between the government and the insurgent group to end nearly two decades of war. Kabul broke this impasse with the insurgent group on Monday to begin negotiations.

A "small technical team" has been sent for Doha to prepare for starting the peace talks, Najia, spokesperson for the State Ministry for Peace Affairs, said on Wednesday.

"The process of releasing the Taliban prisoners will continue today too," a senior government official said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The prisoners formed part of a group of 400 jailed "hardcore" insurgents and militants.

The 400 prisoners were the last of 5,000 whose release was agreed in a February pact between the United States and the Taliban allowing for the withdrawal of US troops.

READ MORE: Afghan grand assembly approves release of 400 death row Taliban prisoners

Prisoner exchange process

Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, the body leading the peace process, confirmed the ongoing release.

"All obstacles have been removed," said spokesman Firdon Khawzon. "The prisoners' exchange will be completed soon."

READ MORE: Why prisoner exchange is the main sticking point for Afghan peace deal

Resistance to release 

Kabul had resisted the release of the final Taliban inmates who President Ashraf Ghani said were "a danger to the world."

Their release was also opposed by Paris and Canberra because those on the list included militants tied to the killing of French and Australian civilians and troops in Afghanistan.

It is not known if those militants have been released.

The Taliban have said they are willing to begin peace talks "within a week" of the prisoner exchange being completed and blamed Kabul for delaying the negotiations.

Kabul teams prepare

The team in Qatar is " there for logistical preparations", Anwari said.

She said that Kabul's team of negotiators will also leave for Doha "very soon."

US President Donald Trump has made ending America's longest war a priority for his government.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies