Written byShalini Ojha
In a sigh of relief for India, three engineers, who were abducted in May 2018 by the Taliban, were released on Sunday in exchange for 11 Taliban members. The swap happened at an undisclosed location.
Here's what happened.
Among the Taliban members who were exchanged are top leaders like Sheikh Abdul Rahim and Maulvi Abdur Rashid.
Both of them were governors of Kunar and Nimroz provinces of Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled the country before the intervention of the United States in 2001.
As per India Today, they were released from the Bagram airbase during the early hours of Sunday.
Notably, while Taliban officials have confirmed the release of prisoners, the country's government is yet to comment on it. In fact, the Indian government has not been notified about this development either. But sources told the daily, the government is keeping a tab.
It should be noted that seven Indian engineers were abducted from Bagh-e-Shamal village near the Pul-e-Khomri city, the capital of northern Baghlan province in 2018.
All of them worked with the Indian company KEC, which is headquartered in Mumbai. The company has one of its power stations in the war-torn area.
In March this year, one engineer was released.
"We are grateful to Government of Afghanistan for their support in securing the release and repatriation of the Indian national. We continue to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan for the safe and early return of the remaining six Indian nationals," MEA had said.
Had it not been for the intervention of the US, the engineers' captivity might have been prolonged. Reportedly Khalilzad asked the Taliban to free at least five prisoners, including the three Indian engineers, one Australian and one US citizen.
In all likeliness, the three Indians will remain with the US forces till their return is facilitated.
But the fate of others is still unknown.
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