Afghanistan Taliban commanders freed 'in swap for Indian hostages'

Three Indian nationals abducted by Taliban in Afghanistan last year to be released

One of them was released in march, 2019.

The development comes days after United States special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad met Taliban in Pakistan.

The Taliban have released three Indian engineers who were kidnapped in Afghanistan past year, Taliban sources told AFP on Monday, as part of an apparent prisoner swap that saw 11 fighters released. While one of the abducted engineers was released early this year and has returned to India, the fate of the other three remains unknown.

The Taliban also said they released three Indian engineers they had been holding, though that has yet to be confirmed by New Delhi or the Afghan government.

The Ministry of External Affairs had then said, "We are grateful to the Government of Afghanistan for their support in securing the release and repatriation of the Indian national".

The group, who were working at a power station in the northern province of Baghlan, were taken from a vehicle along with their colleagues and an Afghan driver in May 2018.

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There was no immediate comment from Afghan or Indian authorities.

The US and the Taliban had agreed on draft peace plan, but the process was suspend by US President Donald Trump following killing of an American soldier in Kabul last month in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban.

The U.S. insisted Khalilzad was not in Pakistan to restart U.S. -Taliban peace talks _ at least not yet.

According to reports, the freed Taliban members include Sheikh Abdul Rahim, former governor of Kunar, and Maulvi Abdul Rashid Baloch, a former governor of Nimroz.

He has criticized the Afghan government for not doing more to defend Afghanistan and relying on USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops to police the country. Three of them are Indian, one Australian and one American.

He cancelled a secret meeting with the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David near Washington after the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul, in which an American soldier was among the dead.

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