Saturday, 27 November 2021

Pakistan ‘releases’ top leader of Afghan Taliban

KABUL: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a key member of the Afghan Taliban, has been released by Pakistan, apparently facilitating the peace talks between the militant group, Afghan government, and the United States.

The release of Mullah Baradar, who is one of the founding members of the Afghan Taliban movement started in 1994, was confirmed by the militant group in a statement sent to media on Thursday.

“It is stated with great pleasure that former deputy of the Islamic Emirate Alhaj Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who had been imprisoned in Pakistan for the last nine years, was released from jail,” Pakistani media quoted the statement which did not mention the time when the former deputy chief of the militant group was set free.

The Afghan Taliban spokesperson also claimed that no compromise was made in return of the Mullah Baradar’s release.

However, the Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal has declined to comment on the matter.

Another media outlet citing a senior intelligence official confirmed the development.

Mullah Baradar was the deputy head of the movement in Afghanistan when he was arrested in a joint ISI-CIA raid in Karachi in 2010.

Analysts are of the view that the development would pave way forward for talks between the Taliban and the US, both parties already engaged in talks to resolve the longstanding issue.

A Taliban delegation had met with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar on October 12 to discuss the Afghan issue. The meeting was confirmed by the Taliban.

The Afghan government has in the past been demanding the release of the key Taliban leader for facilitating the peace talks.

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