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PM Khan welcomes release of Kevin King, Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said Pakistan has welcomed the release of two professors including Kevin King belonging to the US and Australia’s Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan.

PM Imran Khan, in his Twitter messages over the major development in ongoing Afghanistan reconciliation process, appreciated ‘steps taken by all those involved to make it possible’ in the safe release of the two professors, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks held hostages by Taliban.

The premier expressed hopes for better outcome of ongoing efforts of the international community to bring peace in Afghanistan which will end the suffering of Afghan people.

“Pak has fully supported & facilitated this release as part of its policy of supporting initiatives for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict.”

In his tweets, he said, “We hope this step gives a boost of confidence to all parties involved to re-engage in the peace process.” PM Khan vowed that Islamabad will remain committed to facilitating the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.

Western hostages’ release

Earlier in the day, Taliban released two Western hostages in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, handing them over to US forces more than three years after they were abducted in Kabul.

The release of American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul, comes one week after President Ashraf Ghani announced that Afghanistan would free three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in an apparent swap that he hoped would help jumpstart peace talks, AFP reported.

Taliban Western Hostages

“This morning at around 10:00 am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source said.

Three Taliban sources in the province also said the hostages had been released, with one saying they have been brought there by car.

“We released the professors and are now expecting the Kabul government and Americans to release our three prisoners as soon as possible,” one of them told AFP.

There was no immediate comment from the US embassy in Afghanistan. Afghan officials in Kabul said they would release a statement shortly.

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