Taliban leader awaits fate in Karachi safe house

Published: September 22, 2013

File photo of Mullah Baradar.

ISLAMABAD: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a former Taliban second-in-command released in Pakistan this weekend, is being kept in a safe house in Karachi as regional powers debate his role in the Afghan peace process, sources said on Sunday.

Afghanistan sees Baradar as a respected figure who could use his influence among the Taliban to help coax moderate commanders
to the negotiating table and convince warring parties to stop fighting after more than a decade of war.

The whereabouts of Baradar, one of the founders of the Taliban movement, has been the subject of speculation since Pakistan announced he would be released some time on Saturday.

There has been no official confirmation of his movements.

“Mullah Baradar was flown to Karachi from Peshawar early on Sunday. He is being kept in a safe location in Karachi,” one Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters.

A government source with knowledge of the situation said separately: “He will not be sent to Afghanistan. He is in a safe house in Karachi. … Everything will be decided between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.”

The source said Pakistan decided to announce his release to coincide with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to New York this week where he is expected to meet US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

“The timing of his release was tied to his (Sharif’s) departure so that Pakistan is seen as doing all it can (for the Afghan peace process),” said the government source.

Baradar was once a close friend of the reclusive, one-eyed Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, who gave him his nom de guerre, “Baradar” or “brother”, and still enjoys much respect among Taliban fighters.

Known as a pragmatic operator, Baradar is believed to be willing to play the role of a peace ambassador, having once reached out to Kabul to seek a peace settlement.

A source with the Taliban-linked militancy in Pakistan said that Baradar had been reunited with his family in the port city of Karachi, where he was arrested in 2010 in a joint US-Pakistani raid.

“Our brother Baradar has been freed and it is our great victory,” the source said.

Reader Comments (15)

  • Professor
    Sep 22, 2013 - 7:55PM

    We just saw in Peshawar what these people can do. Is there still a justification for talks anymore? Mow them down !

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  • Hamdani
    Sep 22, 2013 - 7:57PM

    agencies did the right thing by going to every extent to not to handover Baradar to the US. Khalid Khawaja registered a case to stop him being handed over, which cost him his life.

    He was held with honour and grace. It was the right thing to do.

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  • sattar rind
    Sep 22, 2013 - 8:29PM

    Yes, it was good and appropriate decision in the great intreast of nation. They also offered thanks in reply killing 80 persons non muslims and made name of pakistan very popular arround the Globe.

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  • Never
    Sep 22, 2013 - 8:29PM

    Release one barbarian and what do you get in return? The dreadful bomb blast in Peshawar! But still you want to release another terrorist…PLEASE wake up and eliminate these savages! That is the only way to establish peace

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  • ali ahmed
    Sep 22, 2013 - 8:59PM

    save house in karachi…this the reason there is no operation against talibans in karachi by Rangers and POLICE

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  • Sandip
    Sep 22, 2013 - 9:07PM

    @Powers that be. Well done. Go on playing these insane games and trying to make yourself relevant where you have no relevance. And Pakistan shall keep burning just like today in Peshawar. Will you guys ever see sense?

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  • zayeph
    Sep 22, 2013 - 10:31PM

    He is being released on the orders of america to make peace in Afghanistan…. not for peace in Pakistan. We are i think still confused after 9 years…..

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  • ashar
    Sep 22, 2013 - 11:33PM

    Hopefully he will reach home safely.

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  • Pakistan
    Sep 22, 2013 - 11:44PM

    He was a political prisoner. He should be kept in the Capital instead of Karachi. Makes no sense to common man. A terrorist leader released from Peshawar is sent to Karachi? For what? To wait? Recommend

  • Fiz
    Sep 23, 2013 - 12:46AM

    Enjoying at the expense of Gov. of Pakistan. How nice!

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  • Anwer Chughtai
    Sep 23, 2013 - 7:50AM

    There are lot of good Taliban. Many of the bad ones can also be made good by our swift action and eventually all of them can be made good.

    Pakistan army does have the ability and capability to convert all the Taliban to good Taliban. They just need a free hand to use their expertise and capabilities and they will show you that a good Taliban is a Dead Taliban.

    That is the only solution we have moving forward.

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  • Rabbani
    Sep 23, 2013 - 2:44PM

    Sandip

    @Powers that be. Well done. Go on playing these insane games and trying to make yourself relevant where you have no relevance. And Pakistan shall keep burning just like today in Peshawar. Will you guys ever see sense?

    If there is any country in the World that has got ZERO relevance in Afghanistan, that has to be India. For that I assure you. Pakistan doesn’t need your poor advices. We’ll do whatever we see fit for this region. Period.

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  • Concerned
    Sep 23, 2013 - 5:42PM

    Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan. Also please dont link him with Peshawar events. there are different groups and a lot on international politics at play here.

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  • Zalmai
    Sep 24, 2013 - 12:31PM

    @ Rabbani

    USA sets the agenda for the world and the region not Pakistan, stop deluding yourself.

    Afghanistan will always have better relations with India because it has more to offer in terms of aid and assistance with development.

    Pakistan lives off of US aid and IMF bailouts, it can barely take care of its 180 million people.

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  • Rabbani
    Sep 24, 2013 - 2:35PM

    Zalmai

    @ Rabbani

    USA sets the agenda for the world and the region not Pakistan, stop deluding yourself.

    Afghanistan will always have better relations with India because it has more to offer in terms of aid and assistance with development.

    Pakistan lives off of US aid and IMF bailouts, it can barely take care of its 180 million people.

    I suggest you must rather take care of your own people than worry about my own. And frankly, I don’t think India has got anything concrete to offer to Afghanistan. On the contrary, you have a lot to learn from Afghanistan on how to keep your cities safer for women.

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