The Taliban group is demanding the release of Anas Haqqani, the youngest son of the feared Haqqani terror network’s founder as part of an upcoming round of talks with the United States, it has been reported.
“This meeting with the U.S. authorities would either help pave the way for more meaningful talks or stop them forever,” a Taliban commander in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. “If they are sincere in talks in the future, they would accept our proposal for a prisoners’ exchange.”
According to NBC News, the four Taliban officials, speaking from Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates and Qatar, said that the next round of discussions will be held very soon and deal with a possible prisoner exchange.
In Washington, the State Department said no talks were scheduled and declined to comment on whether a potential prisoner swap was on the table. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters, “We’re ready to work with the people of Afghanistan, the government of Afghanistan, and to talk to the Taliban all together to bring an end to the conflict.”
The Afghan government did not respond to requests for comment.
Anas Haqqani has been in Afghan custody since October 2014 when U.S. security forces nabbed him while en route to Qatar from Bahrain.
The network’s founder was reported to have died last week after a lengthy illness.
Source: NBC News