Af Taliban free 3 Indian engrs in return for 11 of their men
Fate Of 3 More Indian Hostages Still Not Clear
Islamabad/New Delhi: The Afghan Taliban have released three Indian engineers, who were held hostage for over a year, in exchange for at least 11 members of their outfit. The swap took place early on Sunday with their members released from a high-security UScontrolled prison in Afghanistan’s Bagram and handed over to Taliban leaders in the northern Baghlan province, according to Taliban officials.
The freed Indians were part of a group of seven engineers kidnapped along with their driver by Taliban terrorist Mullah Yunus of Baghlan from northern Afghanistan in May last year. One of the hostages was released in March, but the fate of the rest of them remains unclear.
The three Indian engineers have not been named. Taliban had never formally claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the Indian engineers. Their release, however, confirmed that they were held hostage by the outfit.
The freed Taliban members included Sheikh Abdul Rahim and Maulvi Rashid, who were governors of Kunar and Nimroz provinces respectively during the outfit’s rule, and Aziz ur Rahman, also known as Ehsanullah, the nephew of Taliban deputy chief Sirajuddin Haqqani.
The Indian government refrained from commenting on the development. However, sources confirmed they had strong indication of the engineers having been released.
Sources said most of the seven who were abducted were from Jharkhand and worked with Mumbai-based company KEC International Limited. The Afghan Taliban had reportedly asked KEC to pay a massive ransom for the release of its engineers. KEC, however, refused to pay, the sources said. A part of RPG Enterprises, KEC is involved in infra and construction projects in many countries.
The move came a week after a delegation of Taliban leaders met US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. It was the first meeting since talks between the two sides collapsed after President Trump had called off his plan to host a Taliban delegation a month ago.
Engineers are from Jharkhand and they work for Mumbai-based KEC International Ltd, part of RPG Enterprises Afghan Taliban asked KEC to pay a massive ransom, but the company refused to The prisoner swap was discussed in last week’s meet between Taliban leaders & US envoy for Afghan reconciliation (in pic) The exchange, Taliban sources said, was part of a confidence building measure to revive the stalled peace process