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Captors Claim Deal on UN Three

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban-linked militants holding three U.N. hostages have claimed the Afghan government has agreed to free some of their jailed comrades to prevent the killing of the foreign captives. But the government has not confirmed any deal.Afghan state television reported that President Hamid Karzai had decreed the release of prisoners for Eid, the end of the Muslim fasting month, expected on Sunday.But there was no indication the release would cover any inmates identified by the hostage-takers.Jaish-al Muslimeen, or Army of Muslims, is demanding the release of 26 prisoners, 11 of them allegedly held at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, if it is to spare the lives of the three foreigners: Shqipe Hebibi of Kosovo, British-Irish Annetta Flanigan, and Philippine diplomat Angelito Nayan.”We have been given signals that the prisoners whose release we demand will be freed,” the group’s leader Akbar Agha told The Associated Press in a telephone call on Wednesday.Beghjet Pacolli, a businessmen from Kosovo who has traveled to Kabul to seek Hebibi’s release, told the AP he also had assurances that a deal was in the offing and that the three might be freed by Thursday night.Agha said his group was insisting a prisoner exchange be finalized immediately.Full Story

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