Three Taliban prisoners came back hone threee years later

Three &to=' target=_blank>international workers held hostage in Afghanistan's capital, &to=http://' target=_blank> Kabul , for almost a month were freed today, the United Nations said.

The UN Assistant Mission for Afghanistan announced the release on its Web site without giving any details.

"They are out," the Associated Press cited Manoel de Almeida e Silva, the UN spokesman as saying today in Kabul. The three are unharmed and are being examined at a &to=http://' target=_blank> North Atlantic Treaty Organization field hospital in Kabul, AP cited a Western official as saying.

Annetta Flanigan of Northern Ireland, Angelito Nayan of the Philippines and Shqipe Hebibi of Kosovo, were abducted Oct. 28. They were the first non-Afghans abducted in Kabul since the 2001 U.S.-led military campaign to oust the former ruling Taliban.

A group called the Army of Muslims, a breakaway faction of the Taliban, said it kidnapped the workers. It threatened to kill the captives unless 26 suspected &to=http://' target=_blank> Taliban prisoners were released. The group extended its deadline several times, informs Bloomberg.

Acccording to CBC News, most of the detainees were released after being questioned, an Afghan intelligence official said. Afghan officials believe a criminal gang carried out the abductions, and that negotiations have centered on a ransom demand. But it remains unclear if the kidnappers are working for a Taliban-linked group that has claimed responsibility and demanded that Afghan and U.S. authorities free jailed comrades.

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