PESHAWAR         -       Afghan Taliban have constituted a team for negotiations with the Afghan government.

The 21-member body would be headed by Taliban chief negotiator Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai.

Media reports suggest the first meeting the Taliban and Afghan government representatives might be held in the early September.

According to the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, a date had not been fixed for the intra-Afghan dialogue. He, however, said that the Afghan government must free all the prisoners as agreed upon in the Doha accord.

Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai also confirmed that he was heading the 21-member negotiation team constituted recently.

Stanikzai was chief negotiator of the Taliban during peace talks with the US.

He said the Taliban negotiators had been authorised by their supreme leader to take decisions.

He said the Taliban negotiators would discuss with the Afghan government issues including the swap of prisoners and a negotiated settlement to the Afghan crisis.

As per the February 29 peace accord, the Taliban would release around 1,000 prisoners of the Afghan government while in exchange, Afghanistan would release 5,000 Taliban members currently in prisons by March 10.

The Taliban claim to have set free 1005 prisoners of the Afghan government but said the Afghan government didn’t fulfil the commitment and were having many Taliban prisoners in their custody.

He said the Afghan government and particularly Dr Ashraf Ghani was employing various tactics to delay the intra-Afghan dialogue.

The Afghan government had refused to release some prisoners, believed to be involved in the killing of French soldiers a few years ago, as the government claimed that France and Australia had objected to the release of the six prisoners.

But Stanikzai declared they would not join the dialogue till all their men were set free.