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Afghanistan Releases Taliban Suspects In Peace Bid

Afghan officials say some 20 Taliban suspects have been released from jails in Afghanistan as part of efforts to persuade Islamist insurgents to lay down their weapons.

Officials said the prisoners included a dozen men detained by the U.S. military at Bagram air base near Kabul, two prisoners under police custody in the capital, and six from a small prison in the eastern province of Khost.

Nasrullah Stanikzai, an adviser to President Hamid Karzai and a member of a government commitee assigned to review the cases of prisoners, said 35 other prisoners would be released soon.

The decision to review prisoners' cases came after a peace "jirga," or gathening of tribal leaders and other notables, earlier this month approved a plan by Karzai to seek a peace deal with moderate militants in a bid to end the insurgency the Taliban have waged since being over in 2001 in the U.S.-led invasion.

compiled from agency reports