The Afghan government released another 50 Taliban inmates on Saturday in the hope of starting long-awaited peace negotiations, media reported.

Among those freed were militants detained for serious crimes, the Afghan news channel TOLOnews cited a source with the National Security Council as saying.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted Thursday that the Islamist militant group was ready to free all remaining prisoners before the Muslim sacrifice festival of Eid al-Adha if the Afghan government did the same.

Shaheen also said that Talibs would sit down at the negotiating table after Eid al-Adha, provided that the prisoner swap was completed by then. The festival begins on 30 July and ends on 3 August.

The Taliban reached a deal with the United States in February that Kabul would allow 5,000 militants to walk free in return for 1,000 captives held by the insurgency, paving the way for intra-Afghan reconciliation talks.