The process to release 400 Taliban prisoners to start negotiations among Afghans to reach an agreement on a political roadmap and a permanent ceasefire again hit a snag, apparently after few European countries opposed release of several prisoners blamed for killing their nationals. The Afghan government on Thursday began the release of the final 400 Taliban and released the first group of 80 prisoners that raised high hopes for the start of the anxiously-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue. However, no Taliban prisoner was freed over the past four days. Afghan state TV had reported the talks were scheduled to start on Aug 16 in Qatar. Taliban insisted they would join the negotiations within a week after the process of release of 5,000 prisoners is completed. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen says Taliban have already released 1,000 government’s prisoners in accordance with the agreement they had signed with the US in February.France is among the European nations who have reportedly opposed the release of several Taliban prisoners. French embassy in Kabul in a tweet asked the Afghan government not to release the prisoners, who were involved in the attack on its citizens. “France asks the Afghan government not to proceed with the release of several terrorists convicted of killing French citizens in Afghanistan, in particular soldiers and humanitarian workers,” the embassy tweeted on Sunday. Reports say Germany and Australia have also opposed release of some Taliban prisoners blamed for attacks on their nationals. There is no official word by the Afghan government as to why the release of the prisoners was stopped despite the approval of the release by a “Loya Jirga” or grand assembly last week. President Ashraf Ghani also signed a decree to release the remaining Taliban prisoners. He had earlier opposed release of 400 Taliban, whom he said were convicted over major crimes including murder and drugs smuggling, the notion rejected by the Taliban.Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen on Sunday condemned as ‘provocative’ the EU countries opposition to the release of prisoners. “I think they (France and Australia) are sabotaging the peace process. They had been silent for years but now when the peace process has entered a crucial phase they have adopted a provocative approach,” Shaheen said when the Taliban reaction was sought. Earlier, a Taliban leader had told Daily Times that the EU has no right to intervene in the prisoner issue as the grouping was not part of the US-Taliban deal. France has reportedly opposed the release of three Taliban prisoners, who were convicted for attacks on foreigners.Bettina Goislard, a French national, who was among the French nationals killed in Afghanistan. Goislard, working for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was shot dead in Ghazni by gunmen on a motorcycle in 2003. The Taliban had reportedly claimed responsibility for her killing. Meanwhile Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday called for the early start of intra-Afghan negotiations that is seen important for Afghans to reach an agreement on a future political roadmap and a permanent ceasefire.Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s call for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations in a tweet on Sunday. “Our collective efforts have so far succeeded in advancing Afghan peace process to the current unprecedented point. All stakeholders must ensure residual issues resolved to commence Intra-Afghan negotiations without delay. The importance of seizing this historic opportunity cannot be stressed enough,” Qureshi tweeted.