US President Donald Trump has welcomed the release of two Western hostages by the Taliban, saying he hoped the move would lead to "more good things on the peace front, such as a ceasefire and an end to the war in Afghanistan."
The Taliban released two US and Australian hostages it has been holding in Afghanistan since 2017, as part of an exchange deal between the movement and the Afghan government, under which Kabul released three leaders of the movement, including Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of Taliban deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani.
In September, President Trump abruptly halted his country's talks with the Taliban, aimed at reaching an agreement to withdraw US and other foreign troops in return for security guarantees from the Taliban, after the Taliban carried out a bombing in Kabul in September that killed 12 people. People, including an American soldier.
The Taliban described the release of their leaders as a positive step and that they help create the atmosphere. The movement thanked the State of Qatar for providing the necessary facilities to make this deal successful.
Earlier on Tuesday, three Taliban sources familiar with the swap said the three commanders, who represented the other part of the swap, had been released from prison in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government announced days ago its intention to release three leaders, including Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Abdul Rashid, brother of Mohammad Nabi Omari, a member of the Taliban political bureau, and Mali Khan Sirajuddin Haqqani.
In this regard, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he would release prisoners from Bagram prison, stressing that the decision "was difficult but important," because it paves the way for direct negotiations between the government and the Taliban, as he put it.
The deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban was mediated by the US, where the US envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad signed an agreement to release detainees from Bagram prison, while the Taliban vowed to start direct negotiations with the Afghan government.