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Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs. -Reuters Photo
Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs. -Reuters Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will release former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, as soon as this month to help advance peace efforts in neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan’s foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.

Baradar is one of the four men who founded the Taliban movement in 1994, and is believed to be a close aide and one of the most trusted commanders of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban. He was captured from the port city of Karachi in February, 2010.

Afghanistan has been pushing Pakistan to release former Baradar, whose release they believe would prove fruitful in negotiations with Taliban militants prior to the withdrawal of US and Nato forces from the war-torn nation.

“In principle, we have agreed to release him. The timing is being discussed. It should be very soon ... I think within this month,” Sartaj Aziz, advisor on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told news agency Reuters.

Aziz added Baradar would not be handed over to Afghanistan directly as some in Kabul had hoped, and would be instead released straight into Pakistan.

A member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, set up to coordinate peace efforts, welcomed the prospective release but called on Pakistan to coordinate his release with them.

“We hope that they work in coordination with Afghanistan's High Peace Council,” said Mohammad Ismail Qasemyar.

Karzai at the end of August asked Pakistan to help open direct dialogue between his government and the Taliban. He was infuriated by the opening in June of a Taliban office in Qatar, considered a precursor towards talks with US officials.

During his visit to Pakistan last month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had reiterated his demand for release of Mullah Baradar who was captured in February 2010 in a joint ISI-CIA operation.

Karzai's office said it would respond later to Baradar's prospective release, and Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP the militia was assessing the situation.

The announcement of Baradar's prospective release comes days after the release of seven Taliban prisoners by Pakistan, including Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, brother of Mullah Dadullah Akhund, a brutal commander killed by British forces in Helmand.

This was the third batch of Taliban detainees to be released by Islamabad. Twenty-six prisoners were set free in two groups last year.

“Pakistan has become more supportive of reconciliation process and has encouraged the Taliban to engage with the US and ultimately with Afghanistan,” said US special envoy James Dobbins.

Mr Dobbins, Washington’s special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, welcomed Islamabad’s expected move to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to help the peace process.

Pakistan said it had freed the militants ‘to facilitate’ the troubled Afghan reconciliation process.

However, news of release of Taliban fighters last week was coldly received in Kabul where authorities downplayed it as a ‘minor step’, saying it was important to release the main person — Mullah Baradar.

Sceptical authorities had always been reluctant to release Mullah Baradar, a top confidante and a close relative of Taliban leader Mullah Omar. But with the endgame in Afghanistan now drawing near, Pakistani strategists may have felt that it could be the right time to play the Baradar card. A senior Pakistani official said Islamabad’s move sent positive signals about its commitment to peace in Afghanistan.

Officials said Baradar was likely to be left on his own after the release, instead of transferring him to some other country or handing him over to the Afghan authorities.

“For him to be useful for the reconciliation process he has to return to his people,” one of the officials said.

Comments (52) Closed

Yousaf Sep 10, 2013 05:27pm

"Will be released straight into Pakistan". What a joke

Umar Sep 10, 2013 05:28pm


gangadin Sep 10, 2013 05:37pm

Mullah Barader? You mean brother? Is he the brother of Sartaj Aziz?

Nony Sep 10, 2013 05:40pm

are these people Pakistani nationals or hold some knid of visa or what ? release them in Pakistan, so what if they start managing attacks on afghan soil from Pakistan then what ? how can a govt. be so careless and irresponsible.

Ali Ahmad Sep 10, 2013 05:58pm

Good job Pakistan, I knew all along that NS government would compromise and appease the extremist element. Please put a tracking device on him so that when he meets the rest of his cronies we can track them down and maybe get the US to arrest them.

Mustafa Sep 10, 2013 06:09pm

How is freeing them in Pakistan facilitating any of the Afghan peace process? Why not also shower these convicts with petals and them drive them to the destination of their choice in Pakistan to meet their willing TTP hosts or the alike. I am sure they would even share their kukar and biryani degh with the police dispatch folks. After all, such a hearty occasion.

iqbal Khan Sep 10, 2013 06:20pm

Last I heard these guys killed 35,000 Pakistanis,might as well handover the governace of Pakistan to these people.

Lakhkar Khan, Pekhawar de khkulo khar Sep 10, 2013 06:42pm

DO NOT DO IT. Only KPK is going to pay the price.

Ayaz Sep 10, 2013 07:05pm

Who says he is in Jail? Baradar may already be enjoying life in some resort town ....

ali Sep 10, 2013 07:47pm

what exactly is the role of Pakistan. Just getting instructions from all these foreign countries & obeying..... 1st catch Now release .... where are these guys going what are they doing after release ..... totaly sold Pakistani politicians

HM Sep 10, 2013 07:54pm

Now every one to know who is supporting Taliban and the APC is just fraud...

Nawazish Sep 10, 2013 08:09pm

A welcome move for peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan without American interference.

syed imtiaz Sep 10, 2013 08:33pm

i think if pakistan found osama bin ladin,he will also be released in the name of peace and u will see peace after his realease but before it US found osama bin ladin which was proved bad for osama bin ladin

aaa Sep 10, 2013 09:16pm

good work !!!!!! release him and send his name for nobel peace prize pakistan official entry.

M. Omar Sep 10, 2013 09:18pm

Bad that will come and haunt you.

, kirther Sep 10, 2013 09:44pm

If Nawaz Sharif government is thinking to gain some strategic advantage by releasing such prisoners than they are badly mistaken. In such circumstances one should negotiate from a position of strength. This move including recently held APC will not bear any fruitful results.

Faisal Sep 10, 2013 09:52pm

Release him into Pakistan so that he build up his force and kill innocent Pakistanis.

observer Sep 10, 2013 10:24pm

"Pakistan said it had freed the militants

Ali Sep 10, 2013 10:34pm

Pakistan has its priorities up side down. Disgraceful

syed baqar ahsan Sep 10, 2013 11:29pm

Sartaj Aziz was always famous for watching anybody's interest accept the country he represents,for that record he holds was not made president because after few month he would have shown door to his PM like farooq laghari .Now he will craft foreign policy which suits others not to Pakistan.He was first man seen sitting next to Nawaz Sharif on the next day of election ie 12 May,who whistle is very clear-we are born to live in dilemmas due to these stooges.

was Sep 10, 2013 11:38pm

dont release a evil individual..... I dont even know who he really is but do not release rather stay though and attack them

Sajjad Sep 10, 2013 11:47pm

NS is moving towards the road of massive destruction.

shaukat Sep 10, 2013 11:48pm

Government of Pakistan thinks that by showing this cheap gesture to Mullahs, they will consider leaving what they were doing. They sadly mistaken, they will come around and teach them a lesson. They are not fighting to get free from your jails. They fight for some other cause for which there is no resolution. My Dear Sir, Spend money on infrastructure and change the life of people and give them education if you want to get rid of the menace. Open you eye and see what is right. How can you decide better if your eyes and ears are shut down.

rahim Sep 10, 2013 11:54pm

totally useless step... how can u free killers/murderers like this they never freed anyone they took lifes innocent lifes of women and children. Is this the face of Pakistan?

Taimur Sep 10, 2013 11:55pm

this is absolutely wrong these criminals and killers must be given full punishment of the law. They killed innocent people in cold blood.

Salma Sep 10, 2013 11:56pm

Pakistan will release him but Allah will not! God will have hell fire ready for this monster!

Ahmer Sep 11, 2013 12:09am

Despite what we have done for Afghanistan, it remains hostile to us as seen from its reaction to this news. Shame on Afghans.

pakistan Sep 11, 2013 12:34am

Shameful attitude and disgusting sense of responsibility as present govt doing by releasing high profile criminals in terms of Taliban, These all activities and supporting religious seminaries in all over Punjab the govt. proves itself as Pro Taliban.

Joginder Kumar Sep 11, 2013 12:40am


sadr Sep 11, 2013 12:50am

I am hoping against hope that this man is smarter than he looks. good golly.

Human Sep 11, 2013 01:14am

Good job Pakistan, So you will allow one more terrorist to let him operate from Pakistan against Afghanistan, West and India.

Mamataz Sep 11, 2013 01:41am

There are 3 elements to this story. First, it is ostensibly to advance the Afghan peace process. Second, it is to show to the US that Pakistan has some cards up its sleeve. The third most important angle is Nawaz Shareef's declared intention to hold dialog and make peace with Taliban and sundry militants. It is the second the third elements that makes this a dangerous move for Pakistan if things don't work out as hoped for.

Imran A. Sep 11, 2013 02:04am

After seeing Nawaz Shareef roll over, I commend that Zardari was a real man and could stand against pressure. This guy will sell his mother to please those stronger than him.

Imran Sep 11, 2013 02:32am

So sorry for the unfortunate Pakistanis who cannot just leave (the land of the extremely retarded leadership) Pakistan. The wisdom of the government is beyond comprehension in this decision. These criminals have safe havens in Pakistan like no other country. We just think we could use some more (demented people like this Taliban) extremists. Great. Release him into your own house Mr. Nawaz Sharif.

Najeeb Qazi Sep 11, 2013 02:46am

Back to square one :-(

Muhammad Fsrooq Sep 11, 2013 03:55am

So he is able set up taliban cells all over Pakista as if enough is not enough. Why don't they publicly announce the deal with Talibans even before initiating a dialogue with them. @Yousaf:

Waheed Sep 11, 2013 04:15am

A foolish step, will take its tools or its a excuse from government to free them, else they will come and break into jails

Thoughtful Sep 11, 2013 05:23am

Releasing Talibans without proper awards is not befitting. They should be awarded Pakistan's highest military award 'Nishan-e-Haider' for killing thousands of unarmed innocent civilians (that included women and children). Such a bravery is unprecedented in human history and must be awarded. Highest Pakistani civilian awards should go to those who played such a kind and humane role in releasing such mighty Muslim warriors so that they can kill more innocent people. Bravery and human conscience at its best.

Ayaz Sep 11, 2013 07:41am

This is Pakistani way of helping Afghan peace process .... utter nonsense ....

Azra Awan Sep 11, 2013 10:35am

Law of the jungle. Survival of the fittest. Jis ki lathi uss ki bhains

Joginder Kumar Sep 11, 2013 10:41am

We should give the new elected people's representatives try this different thought and hope that it would work.

Atif Sep 11, 2013 01:22pm

haha what a joke, remember its a war and Taliban don't take prisoners.

rashid Sep 11, 2013 06:14pm

"released straight into Pakistan".. why into Pakistan there are 200 other countries in the world why Pakistan take him? maybe because other countries have some morals and decency not to let murderers walk about their population freely? what useless people this government is made of.

saad Sep 11, 2013 06:15pm

shocking, absurd and an insult to the families of those this killer has destroyed. They should hand him from minar-Pakistan for the whole nation to see!

Jamal Sep 11, 2013 06:17pm

what a useless decision... this is a killer we should never release these monsters back into society. These are cold blooded killers of innocent women and children.

Salman Sep 11, 2013 06:19pm

no surprise here this is business as usual in Pakistan ... get away with anything including murder with zero accountability whatsoever... utterly useless in whatever we do in this country shameful!

Sonal Sep 12, 2013 02:29am

The last two paragraphs are extremely interesting. If the idea is to set him free so that he returns to his people and in turns leads Pak to them, then why is such sensitive information being released in the media? Are the Taliban mad? They will find a way to kill him as soon as he is released rather than wait for him to return to them!

kamran Sep 12, 2013 08:29am

should be released straight into his grave!

kaka Sep 12, 2013 08:30am

useless move...disgraceful!

sam Sep 12, 2013 02:34pm

@Salma: and who knows if that's going to really happen.. don't think about the future and forget past, live and work out your presents.

NASAH (USA) Sep 12, 2013 02:35pm

Might as well provide Baradar a tank to take him to Kabul.

Idealist Sep 13, 2013 01:08pm

funny thing is people who are asking Why Shahzeb parent took blood money and pardoned the murderers are really happy and in favour to negotiate with these terrorist on their terms what about 40000 Pakistanis, Soldiers, Law enforcement agency personnel who are/were killed by these barbaric animals. If that