Afghan peace process: Pakistan releases Mullah Baradar

Sartaj Aziz had earlier said that the former Taliban chief strategist would not be handed over to Afghan authorities.


Web Desk September 21, 2013
A file photo of Mullah Baradar. PHOTO: NYT/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was released by Pakistan on Saturday, Express News reported.

He will be provided with security and will be given the freedom to meet and communicate with who he wishes.

The Afghan government had long demanded that Islamabad free Baradar, whose arrest in January 2010 saw Pakistan accused of sabotaging initiatives to bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

Last week, Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said that the former Taliban chief strategist would not be handed over to Afghan authorities and instead would be released straight into Pakistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was eager to see him out of Pakistani custody. Karzai remained confident Baradar’s release could woo Taliban insurgents to join the peace process.

The Pakistani government started releasing Taliban detainees since November last year and 33 have been freed so far. None of them, however, have joined the peace process yet.

Baradar’s influence has also been debated after his years away from the fight.

Born in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, Baradar fought in the war — covertly backed by the United States and Pakistan — to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s.

When the Taliban rose to power in 1996, Baradar’s friendship with supreme leader Mullah Omar made him deputy defence minister.

After the Taliban government was toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001, hundreds of Taliban hardliners are believed to have fled over the border to Pakistan.

Baradar was arrested in Karachi, reportedly in a secret raid by CIA and Pakistani agents, an operation that was described as a huge blow to the group.

At the time, Baradar was reported to have been Taliban’s second-in command.

COMMENTS (18)

Rabbani | 8 years ago | Reply

bigsaf

So the policy in relations with our neighbour is to sabotage any peace talks the Afghan govt might have with a willing peace seeking militant

Pakistan succinctly understands the difference between Afghan peace talks and Indo-Afghan designs to harm Pakistan. Any peace talk between Afghan government and militants MUST include Pakistan as we have been providing shelter to millions of Afghans who in turn have caused havoc and destruction here.

Rabbani | 8 years ago | Reply

Afghanistan

@Rabbani: we know you are using our illiterate Talib by the name of islam for your national interest which now they turn their guns to you in the form of TTP. Try to get lessons from killing of 40000 Pakistanies due to your so called strategic depth policy.

In my opinion, both TTP and Afghan Taliban are equally bad, but that doesn't mean that Pakistan must not try to use whatever influence she has over the militants for security of our country. I do hope to see a better and prosperous Afghanistan, but not at the cost of Pakistan's national interests.

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