KABUL, Sept 20: The Afghan government on Friday welcomed Pakistan’s announcement that key Taliban figure Abdul Ghani Baradar would be freed shortly, saying the move would help peace efforts after 12 years of war.

Baradar, often described as the Taliban’s former second-in-command, will be released on Saturday, a foreign ministry statement in Islamabad said.

“We welcome that this step is being taken,” Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

“We believe this will help the Afghan peace process.

“This is something we have been calling for a long time. It was on the agenda when the president visited Pakistan, so we are pleased.”

Mr Karzai made a two-day trip to Pakistan last month in a bid to overcome a series of rows that have hampered efforts to end the war in Afghanistan as US-led Nato combat troops withdraw.

During the visit, the Afghan president urged Pakistan to help arrange peace talks between his government and the Afghan Taliban.—AFP

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