ISLAMABAD: Pakistan cannot attach the condition on freed Afghan Taliban prisoners of negotiating with the Afghan government, a Pakistani official said on Sunday, a day after Afghan officials insisted that prisoners should be released with the consent of the Afghan authorities so that they could not rejoin insurgents.
Pakistan has freed 26 Afghan Taliban prisoners, including an influential former minister, several ex-governors and top commanders, over the past two months to push the much-required reconciliation process forward.
“We can’t push them (Taliban) to talk to the Afghan government. We have started their phased release and have set free 26,” a Pakistani official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
However, now the Afghan government views Pakistan’s release of the Taliban as an ‘incomplete’ process as they do not know about their locations.
A senior member of the Afghan Peace Council, Ismael Qasemyar said that there should be a joint Afghan-Pakistan mechanism to “assess the role of the freed Taliban in the possible dialogue process” as the freed Taliban include some important leaders like former Taliban minister, Mulla Noor-ud-Din Turabi.
“God forbid, if the freed Taliban rejoin the insurgents, then we may lose faith,” Qasemyar told The Express Tribune. He said the release of the Taliban should be coordinated with the peace council and information about their locations shared.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2013.