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Taliban officials: 3 Taliban in Qatar for prisoner swap

Taliban officials: 3 Taliban in Qatar for prisoner swap

Islamabad: Three ranking Taliban prisoners released by the Kabul government have been flown to Qatar for an expected swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents since their abduction in 2016, Taliban officials said Tuesday.

The whereabouts of the two hostages American, Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks was not immediately known.

The Taliban officials told The Associated Press that the exchange would likely take place on Tuesday.

They said the three of their members arrived in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar on Monday.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The three include Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban's deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also heads the fearsome Haqqani network.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a week ago 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.

King and Weeks, the two captives held by the Taliban were abducted in 2016 outside the American University in Kabul where they both work as teachers.

The following year, the Taliban released two videos showing the captives.

A January 2017 video showed them appearing pale and gaunt.

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