Fri, 13 Dec 2019

Washington DC [USA], Nov 19 (ANI): The United States on Tuesday welcomed the release of American and Australian professors Kevin King and Timothy Weeks by the Taliban, and thanked the Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government for its actions enabling their release after more than three years in captivity.

The two professors were released by the Taliban as part of a prisoner swap deal between the group and the Afghan government, under which the latter released three terrorists, including Anas Haqqani, from Bagram prison on Monday evening.

A statement from the White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham stated that the two professors were successfully recovered today following their release and are currently receiving medical care and other support from the US Government.

"We pray for the full recovery of both men, who endured significant hardship during their captivity, and wish them well as they reunite with their loved ones in the near future," the statement read.

"We thank the Afghan government for its actions, in the spirit of our partnership that enabled the freeing of the hostages. President Ashraf Ghani has taken many courageous steps in the cause of peace. He extended an offer to talk to the Taliban without preconditions almost two years ago. Furthermore, he called for a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr in 2018, which the Taliban reciprocated, and which demonstrated the Afghans' overwhelming desire for peace," the statement added.

The two professors released by the Taliban were abducted in 2016 outside the American University in Kabul where they both worked as teachers. The three terrorists released by the Afghan government as part of the prison swap are Anas Haqqani, a leading member in the Haqqani network group and senior Taliban members - Haji Mali and Abdul Rashid. (ANI)

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