An Afghan grand assembly of elders, known as the Loya Jirga, on Sunday passed a resolution to release 400 Taliban prisoners, and President Ashraf Ghani said he will sign the order, effectively removing the final barrier to peace talks between the government and the Taliban, who have been in conflict for decades. The United States and the Taliban had previously agreed the latter would enter talks with the Afghan government if it released 5,000 prisoners, most of whom have already been freed. But Kabul was hesitant to release the final 400, many of whom are accused of serious offenses, with more than 150 of them on death row. Some civilians and human rights group are wary of the move, but negotiations between the factions are expected to begin next week in Qatar.

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