The Taliban freed two Westerners, including one American, who had been held in captivity for more than three years on Tuesday as part of a prisoner exchange. Allied forces released three senior insurgent leaders, officials said. The deal has given new hope that efforts can be made to restart peace talks with the Taliban, which were abruptly aborted by President Trump in September. The talks, which included a tentative agreement with the Taliban on terms for the withdrawal of the remaining 8,600 American troops in Afghanistan, were suspended by Trump after the Taliban claimed credit for an attack in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier. The Westerners released to American forces by the Taliban were American citizen Kevin C. King, 63, and Australian Timothy J. Weeks, 50, both teachers at the American University in Kabul who were abducted in 2016. The key figure being returned to the Taliban is Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s military operations leader and a leading fundraiser and propagandist before he was captured in 2014.
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