The Afghan Taliban on Monday freed three Indian engineers out of seven it had held captive since May 2018, PTI reported. The terrorist group freed the engineers on Sunday in exchange for 11 of its top members lodged in Afghan jails.

The Taliban members had been lodged in Bagram Jail, ToloNews reported. Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander, confirmed that the prisoners had been released. The freed Taliban members include Sheikh Abdul Rahim, former governor of Kunar province, and Maulvi Abdul Rashid Baloch, a former governor of Nimroz province.

One Indian hostage had already been released in March. The release of three more hostages took place following talks between United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Islamabad over the weekend.

Taliban officials refused to confirm whether the released prisoners had been held by Afghan authorities or US forces in Afghanistan.

The Indians were employed as engineers at KEC International, an RPG group company, and were working on a project for the construction of a power sub-station in Baghlan province. Afghan media had reported that Taliban commander Qari Nooruddin had kidnapped seven Indians from Bagh-e-Shamal area of Pul-e-Khumri on May 6, 2018. The whereabouts of three more Indians are not known.

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