Taliban, US swap prisoners under Doha Agreement


The interim Afghan government and the US swapped prisoners under the Doha Agreement, an official announced on Monday.

The last Afghan prisoner at Guantanamo prison, Haji Bashar Noorzai, was handed over to acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi at Kabul airport, said Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

Noorzai was detained at Guantanamo for more than 17 years.

In return, the Taliban handed over a US citizen, Mark Frerichs, to the US authorities, the spokesman said.

An engineer, Frerichs was abducted by the Taliban in February 2020.

Muttaqi welcomed the release of Noorzai and said all issues could be resolved through dialogue as no one can resolve any issue by force.

“The release of Haji Bashar from Guantanamo prison is a new chapter in relations between America and Afghanistan,” Muttaqi said in a video statement.

He added that Americans have released all of their five prisoners, who were detained in Guantanamo and the last one arrived today in Afghanistan.

“The Doha Agreement and the release of these prisoners have proven that we can move forward through negotiations and this is our message to the United States that all issues can be resolved through dialogue,” he said.

The Doha Agreement was signed by the US and the Taliban on Feb. 29, 2020, in Qatar’s capital Doha to bring an end to the Afghan war.

The US authorities also released Asadullah Haroon, the second last Taliban prisoner in Guantanamo prison, in June this year.

Haroon spent 15 years in the offshore prison notorious for grave human rights violations.__The Nation