Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday announced his intention to release three senior Taliban members in exchange for two scholars of the American University in the Taliban's custody
KABUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 12th November, 2019) Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday announced his intention to release three senior Taliban members in exchange for two scholars of the American University in the Taliban's custody.
In a video address, broadcast at around 10 a.m. [05:30 GMT], Ghani said that Anas Haqqani, Abdul Rashid, and Haji Mali Khan will be released and flown to Qatar in exchange for two prisoners - lecturers from the United States and Australia - to be released by the Taliban.
"Today, I am talking about a tough or hard, but necessary decision. Anas Haqqani, Abdul Rashid and Haji Mali Khan are being released from prison in exchange for American lecturers, we have talked to international partners, and especially the United States, that these three people will not be part of the war," Ghani said.
The deal is part of the government-Taliban peace talks, he added and expressed hope for it to facilitate face-to-face talks.
"There were indirect talks with the Taliban over the release of the two teachers, and with their release we conveyed to the countries that the lives of foreign nationals are valuable to Afghans," Ghani said.
Releasing Haqqani was something that the Afghan president formerly pledged to never do. Anas Haqqani was arrested in 2014 and is the youngest son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the Haqqani militant network operating under the Taliban's umbrella.