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Taliban release two Western hostages in prisoner swap deal

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban has released two foreign professors in a prisoner swap deal. Kevin King and Timothy Weeks were abducted in 2016.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday welcomed the release of two foreign teachers by the Afghan Taliban and said Pakistan had facilitated the release.
The Taliban had held hostage American University of Afghanistan’s professors – Kevin King from the U.S. and Timothy Weeks from Australia, whom the Taliban had kidnapped in August 2016 from the Afghan capital Kabul.
The Taliban handed over the freed professors to the American officials in the Naubahar district of Zabul province today’s afternoon, according to the Afghan media.
Three Taliban leaders were freed on Monday night under a prisoner swap deal. They were flown to Qatar where the Taliban have political headquarters, the Taliban sources told the media.
The Pakistani prime minister welcomed the release of the foreign professors in a series of tweets.
“Pakistan welcomes the release of Profs Kevin King & Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan. We appreciate steps taken by all involved to make it possible. As part of the international community working to bring peace & end the suffering of the Afghan people, Pakistan has fully supported & facilitated this release as part of its policy of supporting initiatives for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict,” Khan tweeted.
He hoped that this step gives a boost of confidence to all parties involved to re-engage in the peace process, adding Pakistan remains committed to supporting this peace process.
U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally called off peace process with the Taliban in early September, citing a Taliban-claimed attack that had killed an American soldier and 10 other people in Kabul.
The prisoner swap deal between the Taliban and the U.S. is considered a major confidence-building measure for the resumption of the stalled peace process.
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