The Taliban group released the two Western professors and ten Afghan soldiers hours after the Afghan government freed three high level Haqqani Network leaders.

A Taliban leader in Qatar said the Taliban group handed over the two professors in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan.

“We welcome the positive step taken in regards to the release of three Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate namely the respected Anas Haqqani, respected Haji Mali Khan and respected Hafiz Abdul Rasheed,” the group said in a statement.

The statement further added “Similarly, the release process of two professors (US citizen Kevin King and Australian citizen Timothy Weeks) along with ten Afghan soldiers has also been successfully executed.”

“These actions are a step forward in good-will and confidence building measures that can aid the peace process,” the statement added.

The Taliban militants abducted the two American University professors from Kabul West of Kabul city in mid-August of 2016.

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    Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada is the former Senior Editor of Khaama Press Agency who managed and overlooked the English edition. He is occasionally contributing stories to the agency.