ISLAMABAD: After weeks of mystery surrounding Taliban senior leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Afghan officials on Wednesday said Pakistan has agreed to allow representatives of the government-backed High Peace Council to meet him in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to a demand by Afghan President Hamid Karzai for direct access to the Taliban leader at the trilateral summit held in London, a statement issued by the presidential palace stated.
British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted the summit, second in nine months. The participants agreed on joint peace efforts in war-shattered Afghanistan and economic development of the volatile region.
“The three leaders agreed that a delegation of the High Peace Council will soon visit Pakistan and will meet Mullah Baradar,” the statement said.
A copy of the Persia language statement was received by The Express Tribune on Wednesday.
Karzai formed the peace council in 2010 to seek a negotiated end to the insurgency the Taliban have waged since being forced from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion.
The whereabouts of Mullah Baradar has been the source of intense speculation since Pakistan announced his release on September 20. Pakistani sources say he is still kept in a safe house and is closely watched by his Pakistani handlers.
Afghanistan believes Baradar, who was once a close friend of the reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, has enough clout to persuade the Taliban to make peace, but his prolonged stay in Pakistan may have marred his reputation among fighters.