Hundreds more captives freed as part of Afghanistan-Taliban prisoner swap

Cheryl Sanders
June 1, 2020

Islamic State claimed responsibility for Saturday's bomb explosion that killed an Afghan journalist and a technician in minibus carrying employees of a local television station in Kabul.

The Taliban continues to demand the release of their 5,000 inmates jailed by the Afghan government, which was mentioned in the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29, TOLO News reported.

The chief executive at the TV station, Mohammad Rafi Sediqi, told Afghan media that a terror attack against free speech and expression should never be tolerated, and that the attack should never be forgotten.

"The target of the blast was the vehicle of Khurshid private TV", the interior ministry said in a statement.

"Such attacks will not demoralize Afghan journalists and media outlets from reporting the news", said Sediqqi.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

However, renewed violence elsewhere in the country killed at least seven civilians on Saturday, officials said. The truce ended on Tuesday.

The latest attack comes during an overall drop in violence across much of Afghanistan since the Taliban offered a surprise three-day ceasefire on May 24.

"Such attacks are not acceptable for the Afghan government", said Feroz Bashari, a government spokesman, on Twitter.

The Afghan government and the Taliban have released more captives as part of a major prisoner swap.

Afghanistan is among the most unsafe countries in the world for reporters.

In an apparent effort to resuscitate the flagging peace agreement signed between the US and Taliban in February, hundreds of Taliban prisoners were released by the government last week, and the Taliban made a reciprocal release of government personnel.

In 2016, a Taliban suicide bomber killed seven journalists belonging to Afghanistan's largest private broadcaster.

Other reports by iNewsToday