The Taliban released two Western hostages in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, handing them over to US forces more than three years after they were abducted in Kabul, insurgent sources and police told AFP.
The release of American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul, comes one week after President Ashraf Ghani announced that Afghanistan would free three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in an apparent swap that he hoped would help jumpstart peace talks.
“This morning at around 10:00 am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source said.
Three Taliban sources in the province also said the hostages had been released, with one saying they have been brought there by car.
“We released the professors and are now expecting the Kabul government and Americans to release our three prisoners as soon as possible,” one of them told AFP.
A diplomatic source in Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office, told AFP the three insurgent prisoners had arrived there earlier Tuesday in preparation for a handover, but had not yet been released.