Mon, 16 Dec 2019

Taliban Releases Two Western Hostages in Prisoner Exchange

Voice of America
19 Nov 2019, 22:05 GMT+10

The Taliban has released two long-time Western captives Tuesday, fulfilling its side of a prisoner exchange that involves the release of three of its high-ranking commanders.

Sources with the insurgent group say American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks were released in southern Zabul province. King and Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul, were kidnapped in August 2016 outside the university's campus.

The pair's release came hours after the three Taliban commanders were flown to Qatar as part of the prisoner swap. The trio includes Anas Haqqani, whose older brother is the leader of the notorious Taliban-affiliated terror network that bears their name. Anas Haqqani, along with Taliban commanders Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, have been detained by the Afghan government since 2014.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the prisoner swap last week, in order to facilitate direct peace talks with Afghanistan's former hardline rulers. The Taliban has waged a deadly insurgent campaign since the Taliban was overthrown by U.S.-led forces for harboring al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

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