Afghanistan will convene a grand assembly of elders in Kabul on Friday to decide whether the last 400 Taliban prisoners should be released. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in this regard urged attendees to free the detainees, promising help if the war-torn nation moves forward on peace efforts. “We acknowledge that the release of these prisoners is unpopular,” he said in a statement.“However this difficult action will lead to an important result long sought by Afghans and Afghanistan´s friends: reduction of violence and direct talks resulting in a peace agreement and an end to the war,” Pompeo maintained.’ That deal calls for 5,000 Taliban prisoners to be freed by Kabul and the Taliban to free 1,000 government personnel, including security officials, ahead of the start of intra-Afghan negotiations to map out a framework for a future Afghanistan. The release of the 400 prisoners is the final hurdle to the start of negotiations.The Taliban have freed the 1,000 prisoners they were holding and U.S. and NATO soldiers have already begun withdrawing troops in line with the agreement. But Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has refused to free a final 400 Taliban prisoners, saying he needs a wider authority from a loya jirga, or traditional grand consultative council. The list also includes a group of 44 rebels of particular concern to the United States and other countries for their role in “high-profile” attacks.A Taliban militant involved in the massive May 2017 truck bombing near the German embassy in Kabul is on the list, which also includes a former Afghan army officer who killed five French troops and injured 13 in 2012 in an insider attack.