Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Sunday ruled out a ceasefire with the Afghan government’s forces before the beginning of negotiations involving Afghans and called for release of their remaining prisoners. Mujahid’s comments came amid repeated calls for reduction in violence and ceasefire ahead of intra-Afghan that has been delayed due to the Afghan government’s refusal to release about 600 Taliban prisoners, who officials claim were convicted over serious crimes. “Implementation of the Doha Agreement and start of intra-Afghan negotiations are necessary so we can work towards de-escalation & end of war. If anyone seeks ceasefire before talks then such is illogical. War is raging precisely because we have yet to find an alternative,” the Taliban spokesman said in a statement. He said the prisoner exchange process must be completed and intra-Afghan negotiations launched immediately, which is the most correct and reasonable path towards a resolution. Mujahid accused the Kabul administration of “creating obstacles for negotiations” and insisted that Afghans reach a resolution through a political understanding which is also the demand of both Afghans and the international community. He said that solution cannot be found in irrational remarks and baseless allegations. Meanwhile, Taliban’s political spokesman in Qatar Suhail Shaheen has rejected the Afghan government proposal to provide a new list of prisoners instead of 600 prisoners. The government says these Taliban prisoners were involved in serious crimes including murder and their crimes need family forgiveness. The Taliban dismissed Kabul’s assertion and insisted that their prisoners were arrested during fighting and should be released under their agreement with the US signed in February. Javid Faisal, spokesperson for the office of the National Security Council, says there are 592 convicted Taliban on the Doha Taliban’s list of 5000 that have “serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, abducting citizens, sexual assault, stoning of women, assassinations, and other “haq-ul-abd” (human rights) cases. “However, we have given the Taliban the choice to submit to us another 592 names for consideration for release, or we might take matters in our own hands. The ball is on the Talib court,” Faisal said on Thursday. Shaheen told Daily Times that Taliban have “not agreed” with the notion of the Kabul administration on the prisoners. He said the government has freed 3,715 Taliban prisoners so far and Taliban have released 769 government’s prisoners. The Taliban-US agreement signed in February says up to 5,000 prisoners of the Taliban and up to 1,000 prisoners of the Afghan government will be released by March 10, the first day of the intra-Afghan dialogue. “We still demand the release of remaining prisoners in accordance with our list,” Shaheen said. Afghan authorities have different figures about the Taliban released so far and Faisal says the government has released over 4,000 Taliban so far, while the Taliban has released barely half of the 1,000 Afghan National and Defence Security Force hostages they agreed to release. The Afghan government’s refusal to release hundreds of the Taliban prisoners could further delay the intra-Afghan negotiations scheduled to start on March 10. Taliban had earlier refused to join the negotiations unless their 5,000 prisoners were released and Shaheen’s latest comments indicate no change in the Taliban approach. The Taliban spokesman says that the Taliban will be ready to start the negotiations in a week after the process of the release of prisoners is completed. The Taliban top leadership has already agreed in principle to start the dialogue and also inducted four senior leaders in the negotiation team to make it stronger. The US and all other stakeholders are making calls for the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations to decide a future political roadmap. The onus is now on the Afghan government to solve the prisoner problem. Despite some criticism about the violation of the agreement, Taliban officials believe the US is implementing the Feb, 29 agreement that includes proportionally bringing reduction in the number of US, its allies and coalition forces to 8,600 in the first 135 days after signing of the agreement. The US had nearly 13,000 troops in Afghanistan at the timing of signing of the agreement. The United States, its allies, and the coalition will also withdraw all their forces from 5 military bases under the agreement in the same period. A Taliban official says 135th day is July 13 and the US is expected to release a statement about the deal’s implementation process. The US and the Taliban had formed a coordination channel to regularly monitor implementation of the agreement.