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Afghanistan: Taliban frees two Western hostages
Rita Katz Twitter page

Afghanistan: Taliban frees two Western hostages

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 19 Nov 2019, 04:49 pm

Kabu/IBNS: The Afghanistan Taliban have freed two Western hostages in exchange for three imprisoned senior militants, media reports said on Tuesday.

The two released Western hostages were identified as American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks.

They were kidnapped three years ago outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul where they worked as professors.

Sources told TOLOnews that the handover took place in Zabul province.

Kevin King, 63, from the US, and Timothy Weeks, 50, from Australia, were professors at AUAF who were abducted by the Haqqani Network in Kabul in August 2016, reported the newsportal.

Afghan officials say the deal is aimed at restarting talks with the Taliban, reported BBC.

Meanwhile, the official Twitter handle of the Afghanistan President said: "In two separate phone calls, President Ghani spoke to Secretary Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on November 18 to review the steps necessary to implement President Ghani’s recent decision to release the three high-level Taliban/Haqqani detainees."

"The U.S. officials reiterated their support for President Ghani’s decision and committed to work closely together to respond to any possible Taliban violence in the event the group don’t respond in good faith," it said.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan welcomed the release of the two hostages.

"Pak welcomes release of Profs Kevin King & Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan. We appreciate steps taken by all involved to make it possible. As part of the int community working to bring peace & end the suffering of the Afghan people, Pak has fully supported & facilitated this release," he said.

"As part of its policy of supporting initiatives for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict. We hope this step gives a boost of confidence to all parties involved to re-engage in the peace process. Pakistan remains committed to facilitating this peace process," he said.