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Afghanistan: Taliban release five detained UK nationals after reaching agreement with officials

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This week, Taliban and UK officials announced the insurgent group would be releasing five British nationals who were detained in Afghanistan after reaching an agreement. The nationals were released over the weekend.

Officials from the insurgent group and from the UK announced the release of five British nationals who were arrested and detained in Afghanistan. The release took place Sunday, after officials from both sides held a series of meetings, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement Monday.

“A number of British nationals were released, who were arrested about six months ago for violating the laws and traditions of the Afghan people,” said Mujahid, but did not disclose which laws the UK nationals broke or further explain why they were detained for months.

The statement said that the five UK nationals pledged to respect the laws, traditions, and culture of Afghanistan and promised never to violate such laws again. London confirmed the release of five people but also did not disclose their names or details on when they were arrested and on what charges they were arrested for.

“Pleased the UK has secured the release of 5 British nationals detained in Afghanistan. They will soon be reunited with their families. I am grateful for the hard work of British diplomats to secure this outcome,” tweeted UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

In a separate statement, the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said the five citizens were not involved in the country’s work in Afghanistan and traveled to the country against the advice of the UK government.

Among those who were released is journalist, and businessman Peter Jouvenal. Jouvenal’s family issued a statement saying that he was detained for more than six months after getting stopped in December last year.

In other related news, Afghanistan’s disaster management authority reported that around 280 people were killed and over 200 others were injured after a powerful earthquake hit parts of southern Afghanistan.

Most of the confirmed deaths came from the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed, according to interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi Wednesday.

25 people were killed, and 90 were taken to the hospital for treatment in Afghanistan’s Khost province. Ayubi said the numbers would likely increase over time due to some of the villages affected are in remote areas in the country.

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