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File photo
File photo

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: Pakistan freed a group of Afghan Taliban on Saturday in an attempt to improve its troubled ties with its South Asian neighbour, but risked angering Afghanistan further by not handing them over directly to the Kabul authorities.

The announcement followed last month's trip by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Pakistan, where he sought the handover of some Afghan insurgents as part of the stalled peace process.

Karzai as well as the United States want Pakistan to hand the insurgents directly to the Afghan authorities, but on Saturday, a group of seven Taliban was simply allowed to walk out of their cells into Pakistan.

“In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan is releasing seven Taliban detainees,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A foreign ministry spokesman separately said all seven, including a senior commander called Mansoor Dadullah, were freed on Saturday. The other prisoners are Said Wali, Abdul Manan, Karim Agha, Sher Afzal, Gul Muhammad and Muhammad Zai.

Asked if they had been handed over to the Afghan authorities or were just released in Pakistan, the spokesman said: “Just released.”

Pakistan is said to have backed the Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s and is seen as a crucial gatekeeper in attempts by the US and Afghan governments to contact insurgent leaders who fled to Pakistan after the group's 2001 removal.

But Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of playing a double game in its 12-year-old war against Taliban fighters. It says Pakistan, facing a Taliban insurgency of its own, makes pronouncements about peace, but allows elements of its military to play a spoiling role.

Release of a senior commander

Dadullah, who is among the seven released prisoners, is a senior militant commander who was captured by Pakistani security forces in February 2008 in the southwestern Balochistan province with at least five other militants.

Dadullah had been in charge of operations against Nato and US-led troops in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.

Dadullah had succeeded his elder brother — the Taliban's overall military commander Mullah Dadullah — who was killed in a joint Afghan-Nato operation in southern Afghanistan in May 2007.

The Taliban said in late December that they had sacked Mansoor Dadullah because he disobeyed orders. But a spokesman for the commander denied that he was fired, leading to speculation about infighting among the militants.

Dadullah was one of five Taliban who were freed in May 2007 in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist, Daniele Mastrogiacomo.

Comments (18) Closed

Rajab Ali Sep 07, 2013 11:54am

Very funny. Release of the criminals, to continue their subversive activities, as condition for better relation and accepting it, shows our weekness. It is simply a joke. Why the security agencies are being troubled to arrest them with strenuous efforts, sometime by sacrificing their lives, to arrest them, if the end result to be like that?

Salman Sep 07, 2013 01:21pm

Just letting them go is a shame

Abbas Sep 07, 2013 02:36pm

I just want peace for everyone and in all Pakistan . Aameen.

sal Sep 07, 2013 03:02pm

Brilliant now not only are their criminals in Pakistan, these chaps will plan attacks against Pak and Afghan groups. I've no doubt the military was behind this.

omar Sep 07, 2013 04:13pm

What a poor photo choice. Did we hand them back their grenade launcher for the long walk back to kabul?

Irfan Butt Sep 07, 2013 04:40pm

Pakistan needs to do what is in the best interest of Pakistan.

Mustafa Khan Sep 07, 2013 05:10pm

"Just released". Perhaps he should have completed the sentence to say, " so that they can now connive, stay in Pakistan and of course cherry pick between Afghan and Pakistani targets".

With almost negligible convicted terrorist, the handful that we have left after jailbreaks, if at all are to be released for assisting Afghan-Taliban talks should be handed to Kabul, Afghanistan. The reason why they are being released is they will be a bargaining chip for Afghanistan, not because they had to go on Uncle Karzai's eid reception with a few extra accessories.

If you struck a deal complete it. This is ridiculous that you allow known criminals who haven't completed their sentence walk away. The folly of it, makes one wonder if the FO spokesman even felt a slight bit embarrassed even announcing this PR.

Ali Sep 07, 2013 06:29pm

yeah release them, Americans and Syria opposition militants need them badly.

imran bhatt Sep 07, 2013 07:45pm

Important question to ask whether they were here as guests or prisoners. If they were held as criminals then why there is no criminal proceedings going on against them in any court? As they are now being handed over to Kabul, it only shows that Pakistan has full sway over these savages and would be utilised against arch enemy, you know who, after final draw down in 2014. This story of using Taliban as bargaining chips speak about true intention of Pakistani policy of noninterference into neighbours internal affairs.

Amarnath Sep 07, 2013 08:12pm

These wanted men were let off to walk free on Pakistani land. And what consideration do the "authorities" give to safety of their own people? Even after so many deaths of innocents? Unbelievable.

NASAH (USA) Sep 07, 2013 09:27pm

Another Taliban jail-break!

HM Sep 07, 2013 10:54pm

Blunders Blunders... no solid policy... Taliban walk out of the jail while their counterparts are killing Pakistanis... Shame on Govt.

imran Sep 08, 2013 12:07am

Disgraceful, keep on realising them and they will keep on killing innocents. What ia the judiciary and government of Pakistan doing...

Jaihoon Sep 08, 2013 03:14am

Releasing such terrorists are of no use. What's needed is that Pakistan should change it's strategy of hunting with the hound and running with hare. Without peace and security in Afghanistan, Pakistan will not become stable and secure.The ball is in the Pakistan's court. It's hope that Pakistani rulers realize the grave implications of their flawed policy vis-a-vis Afghanistan.

Mr. Wow Sep 08, 2013 04:13am

Thank you Nawaz Shareef. Much obliged for your support to get rid of the infidels. I am sure that anyone will go to heaven, you will be the first one. A true ghazi, true mujahid. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May Ibless bless you and bring peace & harmony in your personal gains that you have planned for.

Mohammad Saleem Sep 08, 2013 07:35am

Taking only Afghans and the international community for a ride.

IMM Sep 08, 2013 09:52am

Having been released to strengthen the lines of the terrorists (Taliban). It will never be a good gesture of Pakistan because why they are not releasing the ones asked by the Afghan government.

Ali Sep 08, 2013 03:39pm

What a joke.