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Abdullah vows to use all possible options for releasing 31 passengers

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: As criticizes loom countrywide about government’s reluctance to release the 31 passengers, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on Friday vowed to use all possible options for releasing the abductees.

Abdullah made the remarks when he was visiting a protest camp of civil society members and families of the 31 passengers in Park-i-Zarnigar area of Kabul—almost one kilometer in southwestern of the Presidential Palace.

He made it clear that the government would make sure to take a decision aimed at not putting lives of other Afghans at danger—during the rescue mission. “What is highly important to us is the safe release of the hostages,” he added.

In a bid to make the protestors sure about the government’s efforts for release of the passengers, the CEO nudged the activists and families of the abductees to send their representative to the National Security Council (NSC) meeting where top government officials, including interior minister and the NDS chief, will discuss the matter in its upcoming meeting.

Hinting at alleged demand of the kidnappers for prisoners’ swap, Abdullah—who has repeatedly opposed release of terror suspect prisoners—warned that release of prisoners in exchange for hostages should not become a tradition in the country.

Chairman of Zabul provincial council, Ataullah, has recently told local media outlets that the abductors have demanded the release of 12 prisoners, who are under the custody of the Afghan government, in exchange for the 31 passengers.

However, the NSC has reportedly rejected the demand.

The 31 passengers—ethnically Hazaras, were kidnapped on February 24 when they were on the way to Kabul in Kabul-Kandahar highway. Their fate is still unknown. Afghans from all over the world have urged the government to put all out efforts for release of the abductees.

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