Afghan MP Fariba Ahmadi Kakar freed by the Taliban

Afghan policemen search passengers at a checkpoint where Taliban militants kidnapped Fariba Ahmadi Kakar in Ghazni province on 14 on August 2013 Ms Kakar's kidnapping was the first time a female MP was snatched by insurgents

Female Afghan MP Fariba Ahmadi Kakar has been released by her Taliban kidnappers, the Taliban and Afghan officials say.

She and her children were abducted at gunpoint last month by insurgents in the central province of Ghazni on the main highway from Kabul to Kandahar.

Officials say that she was handed over by the Taliban to local elders on Saturday night.

She was reportedly freed in exchange for five Taliban fighters.

Six family members of Taliban militants were also released, officials say.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan handed over with dignity the female Member of Parliament to her relatives in Ghazni province in the form of a prisoner exchange after four wronged women and their children were released by the Kabul government," the militant group said in a statement.

Ms Kakar's three children and her driver were released by the Taliban soon after they were abducted on 14 August.

Fariba Ahmadi Kakar in June 2013 Ms Kakar is reported by Afghan officials to be in good health and has now been reunited with her family

Kidnapping has been an increasing problem in Afghanistan in recent years - government officials, wealthy people or their relatives are abducted mostly by criminal groups who either demand a ransom or sell them to the insurgents.

Ms Kakar's kidnapping was the first time a female MP was snatched by insurgents. Correspondents say that it marked a sinister milestone in violent attacks against prominent women.

Officials say that she was released following mediation by tribal elders and clerics in Ghazni. They say that she is in good health and has been reunited with her family.

Ms Kakar was elected in 2005 as an independent member of the lower house - one of 69 female deputies in the 249-seat chamber - after previously working as a teacher.

As Nato troops prepare to leave the country at the end of next year, there are concerns that limited freedoms won for Afghan women are starting to unravel.

On Thursday militants in Paktika province shot dead Indian diarist Sushmita Banerjee, who had written a memoir about life under the former Taliban government that was turned into a Bollywood movie.

In July the most senior policewoman in southern Helmand province was shot dead on her way to work.

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