News ID: 261820
Published: 0704 GMT November 19, 2019

Taliban free two Western hostages in Afghanistan

Taliban free two Western hostages in Afghanistan

The Taliban have released two Western hostages in southern Afghanistan as part of a swap deal with the Afghan government.

The militants released American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors, on Tuesday and handed them over to US forces in the country, Presstv Reported.

“This morning at around 10:00 am [local time], two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul Province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source told AFP.

Under the deal, announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on November 12, the Afghan government would free Anas Haqqani, a leader of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani militant group, and two senior Taliban commanders in exchange for the professors.

Ghani said at the time that he hoped the exchange would pave the way for direct talks between the government and the Taliban, which have in the past negotiated with the US but refused to talk to the Kabul government.

The American and the Australian nationals had been abducted by the Taliban from the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in 2016.

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