ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has quietly freed seven more low-ranking Afghan Taliban prisoners, who have rejoined their families, two Taliban officials and sources close to families of some of the freed Taliban said on Tuesday.
They also told The Express Tribune that officials have allowed the Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to speak to his family members twice over the past two days.
“I can confirm that seven more low-ranking Taliban detainees have been released and they have rejoined their families,” a Taliban official said on condition of anonymity.
Another Taliban official also confirmed the release but declined to disclose their names.
The government did not issue any statement about the release of the new group of the Taliban detainees.
This is the second group of the Taliban freed in less than two months.
On September 7, Pakistan announced the release of seven Taliban figures including senior commander Mansoor Dadullah. However, Taliban sources said that Mansoor Dadullah has not yet been allowed to rejoin his family.
Pakistan has released nearly 40 Afghan Taliban prisoners over what it says are request from the Afghan government to facilitate the peace process.
Afghan officials however say that none of the freed Taliban have joined the reconciliation process, yet.
Taliban sources Tuesday again insisted that Mullah Baradar has not yet been allowed to rejoin his family despite repeated claims by Pakistan.
A Taliban official told The Express Tribune that Mullah Baradar was allowed on Monday and Tuesday to speak to his family members by the phone.
“Mullah Baradar family members were happy over the frequent telephone contacts that he will be allowed to rejoin them during Eid,” he said, requesting not to be identified as he is not allowed to speak to the media.
Pakistan had announced that Baradar was freed on September 21, however, Taliban claim he has not yet been freed.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said last week that Baradar still does not enjoy complete freedom and expressed his hope that Islamabad will give him the opportunity to play a role for peace in Afghanistan.