US supports delay in prisoner swap with Taliban, says US Ambassador

US supports delay in prisoner swap with Taliban, says US Ambassador

Agency News

Kabul, Nov 17 : The United States Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass on Sunday said that it backed Kabul’s decision to hold off the planned prisoner swap with the Taliban in light of recent deadly attacks in the war-torn country.

Afghan government was expected to exchange a senior leader of the Haqqani insurgent group and two key Taliban commanders for the two American University professors, one from the US and one from Australia, who were kidnapped in Kabul in 2016. The exchange was ultimately put on hold, with the Taliban saying that they refused to hand over the Western hostages since the ''movement's affiliates'' had not been released, Sputnik reported.

"We supported President Ghani’s announcement to release three Taliban prisoners to promote peace – and the decision to reassess their pending transfer following the attacks in Logar and Kabul on November 12 and 13," Mr Bass tweeted.

According to the diplomat, “promoting peace means making hard choices, but it also requires careful review of the conditions on the ground."

On November 12, President Ashraf Ghani said that the country would release three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in exchange for two hostages held by the militant group. On the same day, in an airstrike carried out by American forces in Logar province against the Taliban, mistakenly, at least four Afghan soldiers were killed.

The next day, 13 people, including the attacker himself, were killed in Kabul car bomb blast. (UNI)