Last week, Ghani rejected the demand as a condition for talks, but five official sources said the president now agreed in order to secure United States and other international endorsements for his inauguration as head of state.
“This is the ‘price’ that Ghani had to pay in return for Khalilzad attending his inauguration,” a former senior Afghan official told Reuters.
Ghani was sworn in for a second term on Monday, in a ceremony attended by U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and other international representatives including NATO forces commander Scott Miller. However, His political rival Abdullah Abdullah, who contested the election results, held a parallel inauguration ceremony of his own.
Both Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah claim to have won the Sept. 28 elections. Although Ghani was declared the winner by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission on Feb. 18 and recognized by the European Union and most international governments.
The political feud jeopardizes the recent peace deal reached between the Taliban and the occupying forces of the U.S, casting a shadow over the commencement of intra-Afghan peace efforts.
Since a prisoner release is part of an agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, three of the sources said Ghani would announce on Tuesday he was releasing around 1,000 prisoners, with the elderly and those nearing the end of their sentences prioritized.
“Young Taliban prisoners will not be released at this stage - the (release) numbers may vary between 1,000 to 1,800,” a senior Afghan security official added.
Meanwhile, as part of the deal, U.S. forces and NATO troops will begin to withdraw from Afghanistan to end more than 18 years of war.
On Monday, a spokesman for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan Sonny Leggett said U.S. forces had begun its conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days.