An American professor who was taken hostage by the Taliban more than three years ago will be freed as part of a prisoner swap deal with the Afghan government.
The New York Times reports Professor Kevin King, 63, will be released along with Australian Professor Timothy Weeks, 50, according to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
In return, his government will release three senior Taliban figures, including Anas Haqqani, who is the younger brother of the Taliban’s military operations leader. The New York Times reports that the swap will be a major step toward restarting peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban.
In a TV address on Tuesday morning, Ghani said the exchange would “facilitate direct peace negotiations.” The professors were from the American University of Afghanistan.
They were abducted in Kabul in 2016 but said their health had deteriorated while being held captive. In a 2017 statement, the Taliban said King was suffering from heart and kidney problems.