Taliban inmates danger ‘to the world’: Afghan president Aug 14, 2020 0 409 12345 AFPKabulHundreds of Taliban inmates that are set to be released as a precondition to peace talks with Kabul pose a danger “to the world”, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Thursday. Ghani’s government is due to meet with the Taliban in Doha in the coming days for the two sides’ direct talks aimed at ending nearly 19 years of war.They are set to meet once Kabul has released 400 Taliban prisoners in a move that has drawn widespread condemnation after it emerged many of the inmates were involved in attacks that killed scores of Afghans and foreigners.“Until this issue, there was a consensus on the desirability of peace but not on the cost of it,” Ghani said in a videoconference organised by a US think tank. “We have now paid the major instalment on cost and that means peace will have consequences,” he added, noting that the release of “hardened criminals” and drug dealers was “likely to pose a danger both to us and to (America) and to the world”.The freeing of the 400 prisoners comes after Kabul already released about 5,000 lower-risk Taliban inmates.Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Afghan government official told AFP the prisoners were being held until the Taliban first release several Afghan commandos still in their custody.If the Taliban release the commandos Friday, Kabul would reciprocate by releasing many of the 400 insurgents, the official said.Ghani said the Taliban must find common ground in upcoming talks. “The Taliban cannot look for dominance,” he told the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations. “If they look for dominance, you know Afghan society ... will not accept dominance.”Under a deal signed with the US in February, the Taliban are required to begin talks with Kabul and discuss a permanent ceasefire. “The burden of history and the initiative now lies with the Taliban,” Ghani said.“How they talk, how they deal, how they frame the issues and do they search for common ground.”The president suggested the talks could run for a long time. Using an old saying attributed to the Taliban, Ghani said Afghan negotiators can take as long as is needed to get a fair peace settlement.“Unlike in their relations with the US where (the Taliban) said they had the time and (Washington) the clocks, the rest of the Afghans have time. ... That changes the nature of negotiations,” Ghani said. “This time has to either be used productively which all of us are praying for, or it can turn into destruction.” Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Lebanon assembly ratifies state of emergency after deadly blast Aug 14, 2020 0 2064 Duterte to skip Philippine trial of Russia virus vaccine Aug 14, 2020 0 426 India seeks to counter China sway in Maldives with bridge project Aug 14, 2020 0 474 55 confirmed dead after south India landslide New Delhi Fifty-five bodies have been recovered by rescuers in southern India’s Kerala state as efforts continued to find 15 people who are unaccounted for after last week’s landslide, a local official said. Heavy .. Israel and UAE to normalise ties in US-brokered deal AFP Dubai Israel and the UAE agreed Thursday to normalise ties in a US-brokered deal, only the third such accord the Jewish state has struck with an Arab nation, in which it pledged to halt annexation of Palestinian lands. .. Pakistan launches vaccination drive to rebuild immunity against polio DPA Islamabad Pakistan on Thursday launched a vaccination campaign against polio to protect tens of thousands of children from the crippling disease after months of suspension due to coronavirus outbreak. The .. 33 dead in Niger floods Abidjan Thirty-three people in Niger have died and more than 80,000 have been affected by floods caused by heavy rains, the country’s emergency services said on Thursday. The worst-hit regions are Maradi in .. Africa to see slower rises in virus cases after reopening: WHO AFP Johannesburg Africa will continue see new coronavirus cases as countries begin to reopen lockdown-devastated economies, but increases will not be exponential, the head of the African branch of the World Health ..