In a goodwill gesture aimed at convincing the insurgent group to extend a three-day truce set to expire midnight Tuesday, the Afghan government has announced the release of 900 more Taliban prisoners. “The government is releasing up to 900 Taliban prisoners from across Afghanistan to advance the cause of peace, including the continuation of the bilateral ceasefire and the immediate start of direct negotiations,” Javid Faisal, spokesman for the office of Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, said. “The extension of a ceasefire is important, and we are ready to extend it,” he said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Taliban would agree to extend the truce, but a spokesman for the group’s political office in Qatar called the prisoner release ‘good progress’, and said the Taliban will ‘release a remarkable number of prisoners soon’ in response. “The release of 900 prisoners by the other side is a good progress. The Islamic Emirate will release a remarkable number of prisoners soon, inshaAllah,” Suhail Shaheen tweeted. The pause in fighting -which came into effect Sunday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eidul Fitr – was, for the most part, holding across the country, officials said. The government responded to the Taliban’s three-day ceasefire offer Sunday by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 insurgent prisoners.The National Security Council, in a statement on Twitter, said the release of prisoners was to ‘advance the cause of peace, including the continuation of the bilateral ceasefire and the immediate start of direct negotiations’. The ceasefire, only the second of its kind in the 19-year-old conflict, has raised hopes of an extended truce that could pave the way for long-awaited peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. “Extend the ceasefire. Save lives,” Shaharzad Akbar, head of Afghan Human Rights Commission, said on Twitter. “End the violence so that we can all focus on making services available to the most vulnerable across the country, on expanding access to human rights, so that we have space to breathe.” A Taliban source indicated the group could extend the ceasefire by seven days if the government speeds up the release of prisoners. Another insurgent source said militants plan to release about 200 Afghan security force members they hold. The Taliban have insisted that they want some 5,000 members held by the government released as agreed in a deal with the United States.