11Taliban freed in exchange for 3 Indian engineers

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Islamabad

Taliban officials say several of their group’s members have been freed from Afghan jails, including former shadow governors, just days after a US envoy met top Taliban leaders in the Pakistani capital following the suspension of US-Taliban talks last month.
The Taliban also said they released three Indian engineers they had been holding, though that has yet to be confirmed by New Delhi or the Afghan government.
The Taliban officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because they were not cleared by their leadership to speak to the media.
Among the Taliban figures freed were the group’s shadow governors for northeastern Kunar province and southwestern Nimroz province, Sheikh Abdul Rahim and Maulvi Rashid, the officials said.
The Taliban have established a shadow government in areas they control across Afghanistan and have even set up courts to try offenders and abide by their strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.
The Taliban were reportedly released from one of Afghanistan’s largest jails at the Bagram military base, north of the capital, Kabul. While the U.S. troops years ago handed over the sprawling base to Afghan security forces, it still maintains a military presence at Bagram. It wasn’t clear whether the U.S. or Afghan forces released the Taliban. —AP

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