The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf held talks with the top U.S. officials to review steps for the release of high level leaders of Haqqani terrorist network.

Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said “In two separate phone calls, President Ghani spoke to Secretary Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on November 18 to review the steps necessary to implement President Ghani’s recent decision to release the three high-level Taliban/Haqqani detainees.”

Sediqqi further added “The U.S. officials reiterated their support for President Ghani’s decision and committed to work closely together to respond to any possible Taliban violence in the event the group don’t respond in good faith.”

“Both sides agreed that a ceasefire and/or a reduction in violence was a necessary pre-condition for kick-starting the intra-Afghan negotiations to reach a political settlement,” he said, adding that “Both the Secretary and Ambassador O’Brien praised the performance of the Afghan security forces including their ongoing efforts in eliminating ISIS-K’s safe havens in Nangharar, and reaffirmed continued American support to these forces so that Afghanistan can never again be used as a platform for international terrorism.”

Sediqqi had earlier announced that the government has reversed its decision to release the three high level Haqqani terrorist network leaders, blaming the Taliban group for the suspension of the prisoners swap.

He said the Taliban group failed to respect the conditions of the swap process, emphasizing that the government would take further actions in the light of the interests and benefits of Afghanistan.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani last week announced that the government is intending to release the three senior Haqqani network leaders in exchange for the release of the two American University lecturers.

The Taliban group kidnapped the two American University lecturers from West of Kabul city in August of 2016.


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