Afghan prisoner swap for American, Australian didn’t happen: diplomat

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WASHINGTON (Information) – The deliberate trade of two senior Taliban commanders and a pacesetter of the Haqqani militant group for an American and an Australian kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2016 has not taken place, a diplomat and a former Afghan official stated on Wednesday.

The diplomat, who spoke to reporters on situation of anonymity, declined to supply particulars about why the deliberate trade, which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani introduced on Tuesday, didn’t happen.

The U.S. State Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, nor did the Afghan and Australian embassies in Washington.

The Afghan authorities’s choice to free Anas Haqqani and two different Taliban commanders, Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, was taken within the hope of securing direct talks with the Taliban, which has refused to interact with what it calls an illegitimate “puppet” regime in Kabul. All three have been captured in 2014.

In return U.S. citizen Kevin King and Australian citizen Timothy Weeks, professors kidnapped by the Taliban in August 2016 from the American College of Afghanistan in Kabul, have been to be freed.

Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay; Enhancing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang