Pakistan to release senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Posted by Admin On Wednesday, 11 September 2013 0 comments
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

Latest prisoner release is aimed at boosting the Afghan peace process

Pakistan has announced it will release the second-in-command of the Afghan Taliban, a move aimed at rejuvenating the stalled peace negotiations in its neighbouring country.

Before his capture in Pakistan in 2010, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was responsible for leading the Taliban insurgency, plotting suicide bombings and other attacks.
With close ties to the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, he is thought to have the pulling power to bring the insurgency to the negotiating table.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai - who met Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week, and has called for Baradar's release before - wants the neighbouring country to help open dialogue with the armed group.
Today Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Sharif, said of the militant: “In principle, we have agreed to release him. The timing is being discussed. It should be very soon ... I think within this month."
He told Reuters Baradar would be released in Pakistan, and not returned straight across the border, as the Afghan government wanted.
He added: “Obviously Karzai wanted him to go to Afghanistan, but we feel that if they are to play a positive role in the reconciliation process then they must do it according to what their own Shura (Council), their own leadership, wants them to do.
He said Pakistan just wanted to facilitate negotiations with the release, and that he thought Karzai had accepted Baradar's release into Pakistan. A spokesman for Karzai said: "The issue of Mullah Baradar is very important to us because his release will help the Afghan peace process."
Last week Pakistan released seven Taliban detainees, including Mansoor Dadullah, the Taliban's military commander in four of the most violent provinces of southern Afghanistan until his capture in Pakistan's western Balochistan province in February 2008.
The country is seen as a crucial gatekeeper in attempts by the US and Afghan governments to contact insurgent leaders who fled to Pakistan after the group's 2001 removal by Nato forces.
For the first time since then, Afghan authorities are now fighting the insurgency with little or no help from the 50-nation coalition.
All Nato combat missions are planned to end by the end of next year, and the 87,000 remaining foreign troops have already begun to withdraw from the battlefield. The US provides the bulk of the military presence, with 60,000 troops, with the UK's 7,700 the second most.

The Independent 


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