US, Taliban agree on prisoner swap: Reports

The Taliban and the US have reportedly agreed to swap prisoners, sources have said.

Islamabad: The Taliban and the US have reportedly agreed to swap prisoners, sources have said, adding that a formal announcement of an agreement is not possible at the moment.

Sources said the US-Taliban talks started on September 18, 2011, but media could only get to know about these negotiations in January this year.

“As a part of this deal, US administration will hand over five top leaders of Afghan Taliban currently languishing in Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Qatar. In return, Taliban will release two of nine soldiers of NATO forces, who were captured by Taliban last year,” The Nation quoted sources as saying.

Islamabad-based diplomatic sources also confirmed prisoner swap deal but declined to elaborate into further details.

“Yes, it is true that both the US administration and Taliban have reached a settlement to swap prisoners. According to the deal, five Taliban leaders will be shifted to Doha (Qatar) until 3rd week of April. Government of Qatar will be taking care of them. While, the US administration will get hold of only two soldiers of NATO forces who were captured by the Taliban,” an Islamabad-based source said.

They added the Qatar government had played crucial role in acting as a mediator for the talks between Taliban and the US, as well as striking a deal to swap the prisoner.

According to sources, the Taliban leaders who will be released include Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former interior minister in the Taliban government, Noorullah Noori, a former governor in northern Afghanistan; and former Taliban army commander Mullah Fazl Akhund. Two other Taliban leaders who can be freed include, Abdul Haq Waseeq, Mohammad Nabi.