The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass, welcomed the release of three Taliban prisoners including Anas Haqqani, a key member of the Haqqani Network.
John Bass told Ariana News on Tuesday that Washington hopes the move results in reduction of violence and beginning of peace talks to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan which has continued for too many years.
“The United States Government sees this courageous decision by President Ghani as an example of the strength of the Islamic Republic and of Afghan security forces, and the latest in a series of steps taken by President Ghani and the Government to respond to the Afghan people’s overwhelming desire for peace,” the U.S. Ambassador said.
Bass hoped that the Taliban respond to this “important humanitarian gesture with their own humanitarian gesture” in the coming days by releasing the Afghan security forces prisoners and western hostages that they currently hold in captivity.
However, he emphasized that the United States will continue its strong support for Afghanistan, regardless of how the Taliban may respond.
The ambassador’s comments come hours after President Ashraf Ghani, in a televised press conference, confirmed that Anas Haqqani, Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, three top Haqqani Network commanders, have been “conditionally released” in exchange for the release of two foreign university professors who were kidnapped by the Haqqani Network in 2016.
Ghani added that the negotiation was made in close cooperation with the U.S. in order to pave the way for face-to-face negotiations with the Taliban.