US President Donald Trump thanked Pakistan PM Imran Khan for Islamabad’s efforts for the release of Western hostages in Afghanistan earlier this week, a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Media Office said.
PM Khan had a telephonic conversation with Trump and reviewed bilateral and regional issues, said the press release. BothKhan and Trump agreed to remain in close contact and continue to work together for the betterment of Afghanistan, it added.
The phone call came two days after the Afghan Taliban freed American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks in exchange for the release of three Taliban commanders from Afghan prisons.
“The US president thanked the PM Khan for Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating this positive outcome,” the press release said. “He conveyed that the release of Western hostages in Afghanistan was a positive development and Pakistan was happy that they were safe and free,” it added.
During the conversation with Trump, PM Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment towards the Afghan peace process, the Prime Minister’s Media Office said.
The Afghan Taliban had earlier freed American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks after abducting them for more than three years under a deal that saw three Taliban commanders, including a brother of Siraj Haqqani, the head of the eponymous militant group, walk out of Afghan custody.
King and Weeks were kidnapped in August 2016 from outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul where both worked as professors. On November 12, President Ashraf Ghani announced that Afghanistan would free Anas Haqqani and two other Taliban commanders in exchange for the release of the two Western hostages.
Imran Khan had welcomed the release of the hostages and expressed the hope that this step would give a boost to the confidence of all parties involved to re-engage in the peace process. “Pakistan welcomes release of professors Kevin King and Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan,” he said in a tweet.
“As part of the international community working to bring peace and end the suffering of the Afghan people, Pakistan has fully supported and facilitated this release as part of its policy of supporting initiatives for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict,” he said. “Pakistan remains committed to facilitating this peace process.”