By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, addressing the nation on Tuesday announced that three Taliban leaders would be freed to pave the ground for the release of US, Australian professors.
The president called the release of the three key militant leaders a tough decision he had taken in the interest of the nation. The three militants, to be freed in line with a swap deal, are Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid Omari and Haji Milli Khan.
President Ghani said his government and the Taliban had agreed on the prisoner exchange deal. “We have decided to conditionally free the three prisoners who were arrested outside the country.”
The men were held in Bagram prison in the custody of his government for some time, the president said. The prisoners would be freed only if the Taliban released the two professors “Our joint effort for tracing the professors yielded no result,” he added.
President Ghani said the decision to release the three Haqqani prisoners was made after “consulting fully with our international allies, especially the United States of America, with the aim of facilitating face-to-face negotiations directly with the Taliban.” “We have said that to reach a peace with dignity we have to pay this bitter price, but we will not sacrifice the rights of the people, our democratic principles, or women’s rights and achievements,” the president said.