Key Member Of Taliban-Affiliated Haqqani Network May Be Released In Prisoner Swap - Source

KABUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th October, 2019) The possibility to release Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network insurgent group, in exchange for two US teachers, who have been kidnapped by the Taliban, has been discussed during a recent visit of US and the Taliban negotiators to Pakistan, a knowledgeable source told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"During the visit of the Taliban and the US delegation to Pakistan, it was said that he [Haqqani] would be released in exchange for two teachers who were kidnapped by the Taliban from an American university in Kabul and are currently imprisoned," the source said.

According to the source, several other Taliban may be released along with Haqqani.

Anas Haqqani, the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani the founder of the Haqqani Network, was arrested in 2014 in Afghanistan's eastern Khost province. Some sources claim that he was arrested in Bahrain and then submitted to the National Directorate of Security.

The Afghan Embassy in Pakistan confirmed that the most recent talks between the US, the Taliban and Pakistan, held in Islamabad, focused exactly on prisoner exchange.

"Our position in relation to the peace is clear: any meeting, which is not led by the Afghan government, does not have [any] result, and [during] the visit of the Taliban and Americans in Islamabad the [key] issue was to release prisoners," Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Shakirullah Atif Mashal told Sputnik.

Prisoner release and exchange is an important task for strengthening the peace process, Afghan parliamentarian Javed Sapi told Sputnik.

"The issue of prisoner exchange can help the peace process. All involved sides must release the prisoners with good intentions, and this will build trust," Sapi said.

The Taliban has previously called for releasing Anas Haqqani in exchange for the kidnapped US teachers and Mullah Beradar, one of the Taliban founders, who now lives in Qatar and represents the Taliban at peace talks.