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World The Latest: Taliban say they freed US and Australian hostage

11:58  19 november  2019
11:58  19 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

Afghan president: Taliban to release 2 American University profs in prisoner swap

  Afghan president: Taliban to release 2 American University profs in prisoner swap Kevin King, a U.S. citizen, and Timothy Weeks were kidnapped at gunpoint from the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in August of 2016.President Ashraf Ghani said on national television Tuesday that the prisoner exchange would free two American University professors — U.S. citizen Kevin King and Australian citizen Timothy Weeks. The two were kidnapped at gunpoint from the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in August 2016.

The US state department declined to comment on the video or confirm its authenticity, other than to "condemn" hostage -taking. Afghan special forces with US support were targeting Taliban leaders in Boz village, but called in air support when they were fired on from surrounding civilian buildings and

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban freed two Westerners they had held for more than three years on Tuesday, in exchange for the release of three senior insurgent leaders, officials said , in a deal that officials hoped could pave the way for Afghan peace talks with the Taliban .

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on the Afghanistan prisoner swap with the Taliban for American and Australian hostage held by insurgents since 2016 (all times local):

FILE - In this May 3, 2019, photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks on the last day of the Afghan Loya Jirga meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban officials have told The Associated Press that three Taliban prisoners released by Kabul have been flown to Qatar for a swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents. The three Taliban prisoners were to have been freed more than one week ago by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this May 3, 2019, photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks on the last day of the Afghan Loya Jirga meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban officials have told The Associated Press that three Taliban prisoners released by Kabul have been flown to Qatar for a swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents. The three Taliban prisoners were to have been freed more than one week ago by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

1:45 p.m.

Seven killed after car bomb blast near Afghan interior ministry in Kabul

  Seven killed after car bomb blast near Afghan interior ministry in Kabul AFGHANISTAN-BLAST/ (URGENT):Seven killed after car bomb blast near Afghan interior ministry in Kabul

However, to the surprise of the US government, the Pakistani authorities called back their US counterparts to say they had taken custody of all five family The Taliban continue to hold other western hostages including US citizen Kevin King, 60, and Australian citizen Timothy Weeks, 48.

Weeks said the Taliban is demanding that the US release prisoners at Bagram air field and at Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul in exchange for the release of the Kabul said the move was part of a prisoner swap for one US and one Australian hostage being held by insurgents. The German who went from

The Taliban say they have freed two hostages — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — in southern Afghanistan, ending more than three years of their captivity.

A Taliban official says the release took place on Tuesday in the province of Zabul in the Now Bahar district, a region that is largely under Taliban control.

It wasn’t immediately known if the two hostages, both professors at the American University of Kabul, were handed over to Afghan government representatives, intermediaries, or U.S. forces.

Their freedom came hours after the Afghan government freed three Taliban prisoners and sent them to Qatar. The three included Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also leads the fearsome Haqqani network.

Afghanistan prisoner swap delayed, complicating efforts to restart talks with Taliban

  Afghanistan prisoner swap delayed, complicating efforts to restart talks with Taliban The deal would have freed two professors for three Taliban-linked militants and may have helped restart U.S.-Taliban negotiations.

A U . S . State Department official said later Wednesday, " We are aware of a recent video Taking and holding civilian hostages is reprehensible and we condemn such actions in the strongest terms. The hostages are believed to be in the custody of the notorious Haqqani network, an ally of the Taliban .

A Canadian held hostage by the Taliban has spoken of the group's "stupidity and evil", revealing they murdered his daughter and raped his wife. Joshua Boyle spoke to reporters after landing in Canada with his wife Caitlan Coleman and children following almost five years in captivity.

It appears the Taliban had refused to hand over the two professors until they received proof their men had reached Qatar.

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11:15 a.m.

Three ranking Taliban prisoners released by the Kabul government have been flown to Qatar for an expected swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents since their abduction in 2016, Taliban officials said Tuesday.

The whereabouts of the two hostages — American, Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — was not immediately known.

The Taliban officials told The Associated Press that the exchange would likely take place on Tuesday. They said the three of their members arrived in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar on Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The three include Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also heads the fearsome Haqqani network.

Back-to-back blasts hit Afghan capital; at least 4 wounded

  Back-to-back blasts hit Afghan capital; at least 4 wounded KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Back-to-back explosions targeting a military training center in the Afghan capital wounded at least four Afghan national army soldiers early Monday, police and the interior spokesmen said. The explosion targeted the Kabul Military Training Center on the western edge of Kabul, Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi tweeted. Emergency workers and investigators were on the scene of what Rahimi called suicide attacks.

KABUL - The Afghan Taliban released a video on Wednesday showing an Australian and an American hostage pleading with the US government to negotiate with their captors and saying that unless a prisoner exchange was agreed they would be killed.

The 2007 South Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan began on July 19, 2007, when 23 South Korean missionaries were captured and held hostage by members of the Taliban while passing through

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a week ago announced the “conditional release” of the Taliban figures, saying at a press event broadcast live on state television that it was a very hard decision he felt he had to make in the interest of the Afghan people.

King and Weeks, the two captives held by the Taliban were abducted in 2016 outside the American University in Kabul where they both work as teachers.

The following year, the Taliban released two videos showing the captives. A January 2017 video showed them appearing pale and gaunt. In the later video, King and Weeks looked healthier and said a deadline for their release was set for June 16 that year.

Both said they are being treated well by the Taliban but that they remain prisoners and appealed to their governments to help set them free. It was impossible to know whether they were forced to speak.

Subsequently, U.S. officials said that American forces had launched a rescue mission to free the two, but the captives were not found at the raided location.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien made separate calls to Ghani on Monday to discuss the prisoners’ release, Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

Taliban say they freed US, Australian hostage for 3 Taliban

  Taliban say they freed US, Australian hostage for 3 Taliban The Taliban said they freed on Tuesday an American and an Australian hostage held since 2016 in exchange for three top Taliban figures who were released by the Kabul government and flown out of Afghanistan the previous day. © Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this May 3, 2019, photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks on the last day of the Afghan Loya Jirga meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban officials have told The Associated Press that three Taliban prisoners released by Kabul have been flown to Qatar for a swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents.

US professor Kevin King (left) and his Australian colleague Timothy Weekes AP. More On The whereabouts of the two hostages — American, Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — were Both said they are being treated well by the Taliban but that they remain prisoners and appealed to

In the video, Weeks said the Taliban are demanding that the US release prisoners at Bagram airfield and DW: The Taliban video makes a special reference to Donald Trump, the US president-elect, who will be But it is unclear how Trump would react to the hostages ' plea. He can agree on a prisoner

The release and swap were intended to try to restart talks to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war and allow for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

The United States had been close to an agreement in September with the Taliban but a fresh wave of violence in the Afghan capital that killed a U.S. soldier brought talks and an impending deal to a grinding halt.

The agreement called for direct talks between the Taliban and Afghan government as well as other prominent Afghans to find a negotiated end to the war and set out a roadmap for what a post -war Afghanistan would look like.

Ghani in his discussions with Pompeo and O’Brien said he wanted a reduction in violence and an all-out cease-fire, his spokesman said.

According to a U.S. State Department statement Tuesday, Pompeo told Ghani the United States was “committed to work closely together to address violence if the President’s decision does not produce the intended results.”

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Associated Press writer Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

Chances of successful Afghanistan peace talks higher than before: U.S. general .
Chances of successful Afghanistan peace talks higher than before: U.S. generalKABUL (Reuters) - The top U.S. general said on Wednesday that the chances of a successful outcome from peace talks on ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan were higher than before and could happen in the "near term.

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