PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN / KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban of Afghanistan issued Tuesday American and Australian university professors who had been hostage for more than three years, officials of the three nations, ending a prisoner's delayed relay. rising hope for the revival of peace talks.
Kevin King was an American and Timothy Australian Weeks, abducted in August 2016 outside of the University of Afghan Kabul, where both of them worked, freed by the release of three Taliban commanders, Afghan officials said.
“Our family are delighted that Tim is loose after more than three years in captivity, a family said“ Weeks ”in an e-mail statement issued by Australian foreign ministry.
The Afghan Government 's decision to support the swap is thought to be to make direct talks with the Islamic militants, who have so far refused to tackle an illegitimate "puppet" system in Kabul.
Taliban and US talks aimed to end their 18-year war in September after President Donald Trump reported what he had reported as a planned meeting at the David U Camps presidential recession.
Earlier on Tuesday, Taliban said three sources were familiar with the discussion, including one in Qatar, who had Afghan Taliban's political leadership as part of it, said the three Taliban commanders were part of the free swap. from prison in Afghanistan.
The United States and Australia confirmed the release, expressing hope that, in addition to other developments, it could improve opportunities for dialogue between Afghanistan, and finally a peace agreement.
“The Taliban has said that the release of the two universities is a sign of goodwill, which the United States welcomes,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement, placing the men in military care in the United States. .
Pompeo also said that he welcomed the release of the Afghan government of the three Taliban prisoners and the release of 10 Afghan prisoners who were due to attend but did not give any details.
“We see these developments as hopeful signs that a political solution, a terrible and expensive 40-year conflict, would soon cease through a political settlement,” said Pompeo.
He began an Afghan conflict with the Soviet invasion in 1979, rather than with the US invasion after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“In addition to a reduction in violence in Kabul in recent days, the above developments hope that peace negotiations within Afghanistan, which the United States is ready to support, will succeed,” said Pompeo.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was receiving medical care at the weeks, but refused to provide details.
“He is in a good position and he is going through all these assessments at the moment, as you expected,” Morrison told broadcaster Channel 7.
“We couldn't be more willing to get them out safely and bring them home to their families.”
On 12 November, President Ashraf Ghani said that Afghanistan would free Anas Haqqani, a senior figure in the anonymous Haqqani network, a militant faction of the Taliban responsible for the worst violence in recent years, and two leaders from Taliban. (L4N27S1DV)
But the swap was suddenly postponed, and then the Taliban moved his hostages to a new location. (L4N27V37L)
It is believed that the Haqqani network, which focused on Afghan civilians, is based in Pakistan and is part of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The United States and Taliban spent much of last year discussing a plan to withdraw US troops in exchange for Taliban security guarantees. But Trump stopped the talks after U.S soldier's death and 11 people in a Taliban bomb attack in Kabul.
Before the talks broke out, both sides said they were close to dealing.
Reporting by Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar, Hamid Shalizi in Cabul; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Written by Alasdair Pal and Arshad Mohammed; Edited by Tom Brown and Clarence Fernandez
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