KABUL, Sept 7: The Taliban said on Saturday they had released an Afghan female legislator held hostage since Aug 10 in exchange for six prisoners who were relatives of their fighters.

Fariba Ahmadi Kakar, one of the 69 female Afghan MPs in the 249-seat of the lower house of Afghanistan’s parliament, and her three children were kidnapped last month by insurgents in the province of Ghazni on the highway from Kabul to Kandahar.

The children were later released. Afghan officials claimed they were freed as the result of a rescue operation, while some local elders said that ransom had been paid.

On Saturday, the Taliban said Ms Kakar was released in exchange for four women and two children who were being held by the government because they were wives and children of Taliban fighters.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan handed over with dignity the female member of parliament to her relatives in Ghazni province in the form of a prisoner exchange after four…women and their children were released by the Kabul government,” the militant group said.

Ms Kakar, who was returning to Kabul after the Eidul Fitr holidays when she was captured, was elected in 2005 as an independent member of the lower house. A member of Ms Kakar’s family, who declined to be named, also confirmed that the legislator had been released, British newspaper The Guardian reported.

According to The New York Times, Afghan officials confirmed on Saturday that the day before they had exchanged 11 Taliban prisoners to obtain the release of Ms Kakar.

The 11 Taliban figures released from Pul-e-Charki prison in Kabul on Friday were transported to the Moqur district in Ghazni where the Taliban had kept Ms Kakar.—Agencies


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