Taliban deny prisoner swap deal with US
On Monday, some Arab and Pakistan media outlets reported the US had freed Mullah Khairullah Khair Khwa, a former interior minister, Noorullah Noori, an ex-governor, and Mullah Fazil for Bowe Robert Bergdahl, who has been in Taliban's captivity since June 2009.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, rubbished the reports about the release of the former Taliban commanders as baseless. "We ask all media outlets not to defame themselves by publishing such baseless reports."
In a statement, Mujahid also called for journalists in the region not to accept the influence of the western media that tended to give the misleading impression that all issues in Afghanistan had been resolved.
He reiterated the Taliban's stance that they would continue their armed struggle until all foreign troops withdrew from the country.
A day earlier, the US embassy in Kabul said it had no information about the release of three top Taliban officials.
Last week, a British newspaper said the US had agreed in principle to free the Taliban officials in return for the insurgents' agreement to open a political office for peace parleys in Qatar.
The Guardian quoted unnamed US and Afghan sources as saying the Taliban were demanding the release of the former army commander Mullah Fazl Akhund.
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