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The Taliban freed two Westerners they had held for more than three years on Tuesday, in exchange for the release of three senior members of the Haqqani network, Nawbahar district of Zabul province.
Kevin King, 63, from the US, and Timothy Weeks, 50, from Australia, were professors at AUAF who were abducted by the Haqqani Network in Kabul in August 2016.
In accordance with a public statement by President Ghani last week, in which he described the prisoner swap as a gesture to restart the peace talks, the professors were freed in exchange for the release of Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rasheed and Mali Khan, three Haqqani Network commanders who were captured outside of Afghanistan in 2014.
This comes as the three Haqqani prisoners were released from Bagram prison on Monday evening and flown to Doha, but will remain under 'house arrest' there, according to sources.
The Palace said the two 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.