Afghan President: Kidnapped Professors to Be Exchanged for Taliban Leaders
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced Tuesday that the Taliban will release two foreign professors in return for the government's release of three Taliban leaders.
American Kevin King and Australian Timothy John Weeks were kidnapped in Kabul in August of 2016. They were seized near the American University of Afghanistan where they had been teaching.
In January 2017, the Taliban released a video in which the two professors asked their families to pressure the United States to negotiate with the Taliban and to exchange prisoners for them.
The three released Taliban leaders include Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the current chief of the Haqqani group, along with Haji Mali Khan and Abdul Rashid.
President Ghani said that they were being released "conditionally in exchange" for the two professors. Ghani said his government made the decision after discussion with international partners, especially the United States. He said it was a hard decision, but that the exchange helps the "talks with the Taliban and for reaching peace and stability."
He said his government also received reports that the health of the Western hostages was failing.
A Taliban spokesman told VOA he knew of Ghani's announcement. He added that the Taliban would offer reaction "only after we know for sure the (Taliban) prisoners have reached us."
The American University of Afghanistan released a statement saying it was "encouraged to hear reports of the possible release of our two colleagues, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks."
People close to the Afghan president said the prisoners will be kept in a third country, possibly Qatar, until the Taliban releases the Western hostages.
The U.S. and Taliban have held talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The release of hostages is expected to help restart these negotiations. The two sides appeared to be close to an agreement before the talks ended suddenly in September.
The U.S. special diplomat to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, led those earlier negotiations. He is also credited with the negotiations leading to the release of these hostages.
The Taliban refuses to talk directly with the Afghan government in Kabul.
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2.hard decision 艰难的决定
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3.in exchange for 作为....的交换
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5.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced Tuesday that the Taliban will release two foreign professors in return for the government's release of three Taliban leaders.
in return for 交换
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6.The Taliban refuses to talk directly with the Afghan government in Kabul.
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美国人凯文·金（Kevin King）和澳大利亚人蒂莫西·约翰·威克斯（Timothy John Weeks）于2016年8月在喀布尔被绑架 。他们是在任教的阿富汗美国大学附近被抓获的 。
被释放的三名塔利班领导人包括哈卡尼集团现任领导人的弟弟阿纳斯·哈卡尼（Anas Haqqani），以及哈吉·马里·汗（Haji Mali Khan）和阿卜杜勒·拉希德（Abdul Rashid） 。
加尼总统表示，将“有条件地释放”三名囚犯，以换取这两位教授获释 。加尼说，其政府是在与国际伙伴，特别是美国讨论后做出这一决定的 。他说，这是一个艰难的决定，但这次人质交换有助于“与塔利班的谈判以及实现和平与稳定” 。
一名塔利班发言人告诉美国之音，他已经知晓加尼的声明 。他补充说，塔利班“只有在我们确定（塔利班）俘虏与我们取得联系后”才会做出回应 。
阿富汗美国大学发表了一份声明，称“听闻我校的两名同事凯文·金(Kevin King)和蒂莫西·威克斯(Timothy Weeks)可能获释的消息，我们大受鼓舞 。”
美国和塔利班在卡塔尔首都多哈举行了会谈 。预计释放人质将有助于重启这些谈判 。在9月份谈判突然结束之前，双方似乎将要达成协议 。
美国驻阿富汗特别外交官哈利勒扎德(Zalmay Khalilzad)领导了早些时候的谈判 。他还因促成释放这些人质的谈判而受到称赞 。