Deal With Taliban Will Free American and Australian Professors, Officials Say
The Afghan government and the Taliban negotiated a prisoner exchange that would liberate American professor Kevin King and Australian professor Timothy Weeks, both former professors at the American University of Afghanistan. Three senior Taliban figures will also be released, including Anas Haqqani. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan stated that the negotiation had been a tough decision, but was necessary in re-opening peace talks between the Taliban insurgents and the United States, as well as between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The professors were captured in 2016, and have since experienced serious health concerns. The Taliban’s leadership council stated that more exchanges could be possible following the revival of peace talks between the entities. Along with Haqqani, the Taliban requested that the Afghan government release senior Taliban commander Hafiz Rashid and uncle of the deputy leader of the Taliban and senior commander Hajj Mali Khan.