Afghanistan announces release of three Taliban leaders in exchange of two foreigners

Afghanistan announces release of three Taliban leaders in exchange of two foreigners

The Afghan government announced the release of three Taliban leaders in an exchange of two kidnapped foreigners. Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan, said in his address to the nation on television, “The hard decision is taken in the best interest of the country and nation.” Taliban will release one American and one Australian citizen. The decision can clear the way of peace talks of the US with the Taliban.

The US ambassador appreciated the decision of the Afghan government. The Afghan government announced the release of three Taliban and Haqqani leaders. Ghani said that the decision of the release of Anas Haqqani, Haji Mali Khan, and Hafiz Rashid is a tough one. He added that they took the decision in the best interest of the country.

Ghani said that the detained leaders were released for smoothing the way for the direct talks with the Taliban. Anas Haqqani is one of the supreme leaders of the Haqqani Group. Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid are the leaders of the Taliban. All of these detainees were arrested in foreign countries. Taliban will release Timothy Weeks, an Australian professor, and Kevin King, a US citizen, in exchange for the Taliban leaders.

John Bass, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, appreciated the decision of the Afghan government. Zalmay Khalilzad, the Special Representative of the US for Asia, visited Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, last month. It is an effective move after his visit to these countries.

10 Taliban leaders were released from the US military base in Baghlan province of Afghanistan on October 8. They were released after a peace talk meeting with the Taliban held in Islamabad. The released Taliban leaders included Sheikh Abdul Rahim, the governor of Kunar, and Maulvi Abdul Rashid, the governor of Nimruz. Ghani said that it was a hard decision to be made by his administration to release three Taliban and Haqqani leaders.

Senior writer at the Chicago Morning Star

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