A plan to free an Australian teacher held captive for three years in Afghanistan was ditched at the 11th hour after the Taliban reneged on promises made in a prisoner swap deal, officials have revealed.
Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed speculation that New South Wales teacher Timothy Weeks and US man Kevin King would be freed.
It was the most promising sign in three years of negotiations that Mr Weeks would return home to Wagga Wagga.
Then with just hours to go until the prisoner handover, the mission was called off without explanation.
New information suggests there were concerns the terror group was not going to keep its word on all parts of the deal.
“The three members of the Haqqani group are still in custody in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” government spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Sunday.
“The Taliban’s failure to comply with the conditions has delayed the exchange process.
“The Afghan government will review the exchange process that works for [the] country’s best interests.”
Whether an attempt should be repeated is the subject of much debate among analysts and Afghans frightened of how it could play out for civilians.
And there’s little wonder why: The three people they want to exchange the innocent Australian and American professors for are high-ranking terrorists within the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group closely associated with the Taliban.
They include Anas Haqqani, the son of the group’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani.
The other prisoners are another Haqqani relative, Haji Mali Khan, and Abdul Rashid, who reportedly holds a position in the Taliban’s political office.
Read full report on The New Daily