3 Indian freed for 11 Taliban members in prisoner’s swap

NEW DELHI: The Afghan Taliban said it has freed three Indian engineers in an exchange of its 11 top members. including some high-ranking officials of the militant group.

According to a report in the Express Tribune, the swap took place earlier on Sunday in an undisclosed location.

The news, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, came just days after US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met the Taliban’s top negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the hardline Taliban movement and head of a Taliban delegation that visited Islamabad last week.

There was no official confirmation from the Indian authorities on the release or identity of the engineers who were part of a group kidnapped in Afghanistan.

Last year in May, the Indian embassy in Kabul had confirmed that seven Indian engineers, all working for the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) that operates power generating stations, were kidnapped in Baghlan.

No group has claimed responsibility for their abduction.

One of the hostages was released in March, but the fate of the others remains unknown.

The freed Taliban leaders include Sheikh Abdur Rahim and Mawlawi Abdur Rashid, who had served as the insurgent group’s governors of Kunar and Nimroz provinces respectively.