Afghanistan will release two senior Taliban commanders and a leader of the Haqqani militant group in exchange for an American and an Australian professor who were kidnapped in 2016, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday.
The decision to free top militant commander Anas Haqqani and two other Taliban commanders in a prisoner swap could pave the way for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
"In order to pave the way for a face-to-face negotiations with the Taliban, the government has decided to free Taliban prisoners in exchange for two university professors," Ghani said in a televised speech.
The prisoner exchange comes at a time when efforts were being made to revamp peace talks between the United States and the Taliban.
The Haqqani network has in recent years carried large-scale militant attack on civilians.
It is believed to be based in Pakistan and is part of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Taliban had kidnapped the Australian and American professors in August 2016 from the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.
The Afghan government has begun releasing the last Taliban prisoners from a final batch of 400 who the militants want freed before they agree to start peace negotiations, a security agency spokesman said on Friday. Olivia Chan reports.
Border Security Force (BSF) foiled an attempt to smuggle arms, ammunition and narcotics into India in Arnia area along the International Border from Pakistan side, on the night of 19-20 September. "During search of the area, 2 pistols, 3 magazines and ammunition and 62 packets of drugs were also seized," said BSF Inspector General of Jammu Frontier, NS Jamwal.
National Conference president and former chief minister of JandK, Farooq Abdullah, on September 19 said in Lok Sabha that border skirmishes are on a rise in Jammu and Kashmir and talks should be held with other neighbours, like the engagement is taking place with China. "Like we are talking to China to resolve issues, we need to hold talks with the other neighbour country as well. People are dying every day, border skirmishes are on a rise. We need to find some solution," said Abdullah.
Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh on September 19 informed that Pakistan is using drones to drop weapons. He was briefing mediapersons, after Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists arrested by security forces from Rajori. "Pakistan is trying to disturb peace in JandK by using drones to drop weapons. They are also trying to infiltrate terrorists. Dropping of weapons by drone is challenging but we have been able to restrict such acts and have got some success," said Singh.
National Investigative Agency (NIA) arrested nine Al Qaeda terrorists from West Bengal and Kerala. They are accused of being radicalised by a Pakistan-based Al Qaeda module. The men were radicalised on social media, motivated to undertake attacks at multiple places. They were arrested in raids carried out in Bengal’s Murshidabad and Kerala's Ernakulam. NIA nabbed Leu Yean Ahmed and Abu Sufiyan from West Bengal among others. From Kerala, the agency arrested three including Mosaraf Hossen and Murshid Hasan. Six of them were arrested in West Bengal while three were nabbed in Kerala. NIA informed that the Al Qaeda module was actively indulged in fundraising. A few gang members were planning to travel to New Delhi to procure arms and ammunition. NIA added that the arrests have pre-empted possible terrorist attacks in the country.
Credit: HT Digital Content Duration: 01:37Published
Around 138 Sikh families from Afghanistan have been relocated in Delhi. They are currently staying in Gurudwaras that are run by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee."It's been 16 days here. I lost my parents and brother in bomb blast. We left everything including our houses," said Balbir Singh, Afghan migrant. "There are 138 persons in 31 rooms here. We are providing them with all the basic amenities to live. We are taking take of them as family," said Harjit S Bedi, Chief Vice Chancellor, Motibagh Gurudwara. Sikhs started returning following Kabul bomb blast, which claimed 25 lives.
Afghan and Taliban sources confirm that a prisoner swap has successfully released American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, faculty at the American University in Kabul, in exchange for captured..