MONITORING (SW) – Sources close to the Taliban have confirmed that the three Taliban commanders released by the government have been flown to Qatar for an expected swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents.
Last week, President Ashraf Ghani 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. The deal was called-off following terrorist attacks in Kabul and Logar provinces.
Separately, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed over telephone with the U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on the peace process and prison swap with the Taliban, an official statement said on Tuesday. Both sides agreed that a ceasefire and/or a reduction in violence was a necessary pre-condition for kick-starting the intra-Afghan negotiations to reach a political settlement”, the statement said.