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A Taliban commander who was jailed for kidnapping foreigners in Kabul was released early, the BBC has learnt.
Akbar Agha was sentenced to 16 years in prison for kidnapping three UN workers in the Afghan capital in 2004. He was released from prison late last year.
His friends told the BBC he had been pardoned by President Hamid Karzai. But a spokesman said the president "could not recall the matter".
"People from Kandahar had been demanding Akbar Agha's release for a long time. He is from a spiritual family - he's a sayed, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, and that is why they wanted him released.
"He was pardoned on condition that he stays in Kabul. The government's paying the rent on his house - I think it's about $1,000 a month."