Afghan officials: 2 federal prosecutors shot dead near Kabul

Afghan officials say gunmen have shot dead two federal prosecutors as they were driving to Bagram Airfield north of the capital, Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Gunmen shot dead two federal prosecutors on Saturday as they were driving to Bagram Airfield north of the capital, Kabul, said Jamshid Rasouli, spokesman for the national Attorney General’s office.

Two other prosecutors were wounded, he said, adding that the prosecutors were heading to the prison at Bagram Airfield, which has held top-level Taliban detainees, including Anas Haqqani. He’s the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the fearsome Haqqani militant network.

Anas Haqqani and two other Taliban prisoners were supposed to be freed on Tuesday in exchange for an American and an Australian national after their release was announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in an address to the nation.

But the Taliban say the three prisoners didn’t show up at an exchange site agreed upon with the U.S.

Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said late Saturday the three were still in government custody. He didn’t say what went wrong with the exchange which was to pave the way for the release of the two professors of the American University of Afghanistan — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — who were kidnapped in Kabul in 2016.

Sediqqi said the Afghan government “was in the process of reviewing the exchange of prisoners and will make a decision based on the country’s national interest.”

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said earlier the Taliban did not know why the three Taliban were not freed as promised. The two professors are still in Taliban hands, he said.