A rare ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government appeared to hold for the third and final day on Sunday, with hundreds of militant prisoners released in a bid to bring peace talks closer.
Calm prevailed across much of Afghanistan, with officials not reporting any major clashes between the two foes since the truce began on Friday to mark the Muslim festival of Id al-Adha.
President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have both indicated that long-delayed negotiations could begin straight after Id. In restive Zabul province, several residents recited poems calling for the ceasefire — only the third official halt in fighting in nearly two decades of conflict — to be made permanent. The National Security Council said on Sunday that 300 Taliban prisoners had been released since Friday, taking the total number of insurgents freed so far to just over 4,900.
Authorities however have refused to free hundreds of inmates accused of serious crimes that the insurgents had requested for release.
The Taliban said it has already fulfilled its side of the exchange.