Some 320 Taliban prisoners were released by Afghanistan's new government in Kabul Thursday after spending up to five years or more locked away by Northern Alliance groups.

Security Ministry officials called it a gesture of national reconciliation and that more releases would follow. It was not known if the prisoners included Al Qaeda fighters.

"We are very pleased with the government," said Abdul Shukur, one of the newly freed prisoners. "God willing, I'm on my way home to see my family."

Most of the freed prisoners, who ranged in age from their late teens to their 50s, appeared to be in good health. In Kabul, they were handed over to the village chiefs and tribal elders who pledged support to Prime Minister Hamid Karzai's new administration.