ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday announced the release of seven senior Afghan Taliban figures to help the peace process in neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan, the foreign ministry said.
“In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan is releasing seven Taliban detainees, namely Mansoor Dadullah, Said Wali, Abdul Manan, Karim Agha, Sher Afzal, Gul Muhammad and Muhammad Zai,” it said in a statement.
These releases are in addition to 26 Taliban detainees released during the last year, according to the foreign ministry.
The number of Taliban freed by Pakistan in the last nine months has now reached 33.
Pakistan had started the process to release Afghan Taliban prisoners on the request by Afghan government in November last year.
The freed Taliban figures include key commander Mansoor Dadullah, the brother of Mulla Dadullah Akhud, the Taliban senior commander who was killed by the American and British troops in southern Afghanistan in May 2007.
Mansoor Dadullah was arrested by Pakistani security forces in Balochistan in February 2008.
The Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar had expelled Mansoor from the Taliban group after he had arrested some Taliban commanders to force them to confess hands in the killing of his brother.
The foreign ministry’s list excluded Taliban second-in-command Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was arrested in Karachi in 2010.
The Afghan government has been demanding Baradar be released since his arrest, however, Islamabad is unwilling to free him.