Following reports of a Taliban-proposed deal trading two kidnapped expat professors held by the Taliban in exchange for 80 insurgent prisoners held by the Afghan government, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said that work should be done on this move if it helps the peace process.
According to two sources close to the Taliban, the group has demanded the release of 80 prisoners, including Anas Haqqani, a key member of Taliban and Haqqani network, and Rasheed Omari, brother of Nabi Omari and a member of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, as well as a number of commanders and designated governors.
“If we have prisoners held by the other side, and their prisoners are here, work should be done for their release and this should of course help us in achieving peace in the country,” Abdullah told TOLOnews.
The two professors, Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian, were abducted in Kabul in 2016 while employed at the American University of Afghanistan.
“The list which has been handed to Mr. (Zalmay) Khalilzad by the Taliban—there are a number of key Taliban members, including Mr. Abdul Rasheed Omari and Anas Haqqani, former commanders of the Taliban and their former (designated) governors,” said Wahid Muzhda, an analyst.
A member of Afghanistan’s Lawyers Union, Wahid Farzaee, said a prisoner swap must follow the country’s laws.
“The president needs to pardon any released Taliban and Daesh prisoners in Afghanistan,” said Farzaee.
Sources from the Presidential Palace confirmed that President Ghani met with US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad this week, but the Presidential Palace did not comment on this meeting.