13 December 2019

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US Supports Afghan Govt.’s Decision for Prisoner Swap, Delay: Bass

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Tuesday, November 18, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The US Ambassador to Kabul John Bass in tweet on Sunday said the US supports President Ghani’s announcement to "release three Taliban prisoners to promote peace” and “the decision to reassess their pending transfer following the attacks in Logar and Kabul on November 12 and 13.”
Last week, President Ghani announced that three prominent members of the Haqqani group Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid and Mali Khan—would be released ‘conditionally’ in exchange for two kidnapped professors from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF),  Kevin King, 63, from the US, and Timothy Weeks, 50, from Australia.
President Ghani mentioned that this exchange was intended to act as a prelude to resumed peace talks.
But the exchange was postponed, and the Haqqani Network prisoners were returned to Bagram Airbase, according to presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
Sediqqi claimed the prisoner exchange process didn’t take place because the Taliban did not comply with conditions set by the Afghan government.
He also said the government will reassess the prisoner exchange process and will proceed in the “nation’s interest.”
On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova responded to a question about the prospective prisoner exchange, saying: “We welcome any real steps...to put an end to hostilities and launch a peace process in Afghanistan,” and “We view the release of three leaders of the Haqqani network, which is linked to the Taliban, as a gesture of good will by the government of Afghanistan with a view to facilitating progress in the intra-Afghani peace process.”

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