3 Indian engineers in the clutches of the Talibans since last May have been released in exchange for it's top members from the Afghan jails, according to a PTI report on Monday. The release of the three hostages follows the key meeting held between the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Islamabad held over the weekend. The three hostages were part of the seven that were abducted in May 2018.
Two Taliban officials told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Sunday that the swap took place earlier in the day, but they did not disclose the location. Meanwhile New Delhi, there was no confirmation of such release nor were the names of those abducted.
In May 2018, six Indian engineers and their Afghan driver were abducted from the Bagh-e-Shamal area of northern Baghlan Province where they were working on an electricity sub-station. The engineers were working for KEC, a global infrastructure engineering, procurement and construction company of RPG Enterprises. No group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping last year. One of the 6 hostages was released in March.
The 11 Taliban prisoners freed on Sunday were being held in one of Afghanistan's largest jails at the Bagram military base, north of the capital, Kabul, as per what the Associated Press reported. While the US troops handed over the sprawling military facility to Afghan security forces some years ago, it still maintains a presence at Bagram. It is still not clear whether the Taliban were released by the US or Afghan forces.
The Taliban delegation arrived in Pakistan last week in an attempt to carry forward peace talks with Khalilzad that were called off by US president Donald Trump last month. In Pakistan, the Taliban delegation called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and exchanged views on peace and stability in the South Asian region and bilateral relations in their meeting.
Since his appointment in September last year, Afghanistan-born US envoy Khalilzad has met with all sides in an attempt to end America's longest war in which the US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in more than 17 years.
Tags : Taliban