03:27 GMT +310 December 2019
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    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before awarding the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2019

    Release of Hostages in Afghanistan Could Lead to 'Good Things', Ceasefire - Trump

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said in a statement on Wednesday that he hopes the recent release of two Western hostages in Afghanistan will lead to progress with respect to the peace efforts in the country, including leading to a ceasefire that will help end the war there.

    "We join families of Kevin King and Tim Weeks in celebrating their release from Taliban captivity", Trump said via Twitter, adding that "Let's hope this leads to more good things on the peace front like a ceasefire that will help end this long war".
    ​On Tuesday, US national Kevin King and Australian national Timothy Weeks were handed over to foreign forces in Afghanistan in exchange for three senior commanders of the Haqqani network, which is part of the Taliban. The two men, both American University lecturers, were kidnapped by the Taliban in 2016.

    In August 2016, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, were reportedly driving through central Kabul when militants ambushed their vehicle. Then both men, who were in the Afghan capital to teach English at the American University of Afghanistan, disappeared.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed hope on Tuesday that the latest prisoner exchange, along with a reduction in violence in Kabul the past few days, may lead to success in the intra-Afghan peace talks.

    In a phone conversation on Tuesday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told Pompeo that joint action would need to be taken if the Taliban continues with the campaign of violence after the prisoner exchange.

    The so-called intra-Afghan talks are being called in a bid to untangle the confrontation between the government and the Taliban movement, which has been struggling to achieve recognition since being overthrown by the forces of an international UN-mandated coalition of troops almost two decades ago. Ghani has repeatedly suggested pathways to recognizing the Taliban as a political party and engaging in peace talks, but the matter is in a deadlock.

    With the peace talks in limbo, abductions have been a typical warfare method of the Taliban, along with rape, bombings and similar atrocities.

    *Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.


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    Donald Trump, peace talks, release, hostages, Afghanistan, Taliban, United States
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