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Mullah Baradar was reported to have been the Afghan Taliban’s second-in-command, the right hand man of the supreme commander Mullah Omar.—File Photo
Mullah Baradar was reported to have been the Afghan Taliban’s second-in-command, the right hand man of the supreme commander Mullah Omar.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday released its most senior Afghan Taliban detainee Abdul Ghani Baradar, a senior official told AFP, in a move welcomed by Kabul who hope it will encourage peace talks with the insurgents.

Baradar, a one-time military chief often described as the militants’ former second-in-command, was the most high profile detained Taliban commander in Pakistan.

“Yes Baradar has been released,” Omar Hamid, a spokesman for Pakistan's interior ministry told news agency AFP, without elaborating on the circumstances of the release.

The Pakistani foreign office also confirmed the release in a short statement.

“Mullah Baradar was released this morning,” Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the spokesman for foreign ministry, told AFP via text message. He added: “Released in Pakistan. No further details available with me”.

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) welcomed the release and thanked Pakistan’s government.

“We welcome his release. And we thank the government of Pakistan that showed goodwill and answered positively to the request of Afghanistan government,” Mohammad Esmail Qasimyar, senior member of HPC, told AFP.

“Baradar is someone who has always been eager to join peace negotiations, and we hope he joins peace talks soon. We are optimistic about it, he is still an influential figure, and the Taliban still respect him,” Qasimyar said.

Pakistan’s foreign office on Friday said that Baradar’s release would facilitate Afghanistan’s reconciliation process with the Taliban as a Nato combat mission there winds down.

The Taliban opened an office in Doha in June as a precursor to possible talks but it was quickly shut down after Karzai reacted furiously when they put up a flag and plaque as if they were a government-in-exile.

However, the Taliban’s spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid said they could not yet confirm the move.

“We only heard through the media that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be released. We have not received any official confirmation about his release,” Mujahid told AFP in Kabul.

The Afghan government has long demanded that Islamabad free Baradar.

He was arrested January 2010 in the southern port city of Karachi, reportedly in a secret raid by CIA and Pakistani agents, in an operation that was described as a huge blow to the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan until a US-led invasion in 2001.

At the time of his detention Baradar was reported to have been the Taliban’s second-in-command, the right hand man of the supreme commander Mullah Omar.

He was the most senior member of the Taliban held after US-led troops invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept 11 attacks, bringing down the radical religious regime.

His release brings to 34 the number of Taliban detainees that Pakistan has freed since last year, in what Afghan officials hope will encourage peace talks with Taliban insurgents.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had asked Pakistan to help open direct dialogue between his government and the Taliban, who consider Karzai an “American puppet” and have refused to hold discussions with his government.

But Sartaj Aziz, the main adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on national security and foreign affairs had said that Baradar would not be handed over to Kabul, and analysts agree his release will have little impact on talks.

Political analyst Talat Masood said the announcement was a “sort of a confidence-building measure between Pakistan and Afghanistan”.

“However, this release is not likely to make any significant difference in the negotiating process,” he said.

The details of where Baradar will go after being freed are unclear. There has been speculation he could head to Turkey or Saudi Arabia, but a Taliban source told AFP he would probably stay in Karachi, where his family is said to be based.

Born in 1968 in the southern province of Uruzgan, Abdul Ghani Baradar fought the occupying Soviet forces in the late 1980s before becoming one of the founding members of the Taliban movement.

Comments (16) Closed

Nooriezk Sep 21, 2013 01:12pm

SEEMS LIKE ! Government has nothing elso to do !

Muslim Sep 21, 2013 01:50pm

I hope this will help in the peace process .inshaAllah....... we're sick of this war.

Sonal Sep 21, 2013 02:25pm

This is truly abrurd. How can Pakistan assume Baradar will want to initiate the peace process? If they let him live freely, the Taliban will kill him, and that's the end of the peace process right there. What use is he if he isn't monitored closely? Waiting to see how this story ends.

Safdar Sep 21, 2013 02:43pm

God bless this guy will back restarting his efforts to destablize Pakistan. I thought Taliban were our enemies..??

Karachi Wala Sep 21, 2013 02:48pm

Can someone tell what this Pakistan's beadrless Mullah regime is up to? To me, it seems, with the release of Mullah Brother others, Pak govt. has issued death warrants for the thousand more Pakistanis.

Muhammad Mujtaba Sep 21, 2013 03:09pm

Nothing is going to change. What sort of logic is that. Is govt of Pakistan pleading for mercy. Useless. There are no good or bad Taliban, they are all same. And trust me the same guy will strike them back with revenge. Wake up my countrymen.

Mamataz Sep 21, 2013 03:35pm

Hoping for some peaceful settlement of the grievances. Let us hope for a new beginning where the rule of Allah's law prevails.

Jaihoon Sep 21, 2013 03:43pm

Mullah Baeadar's release is inconsequential in the sense that he will not be in a position to persuade his other terrorist colleagues to lay down their arms, and to stop acts of terrorism that they carry out at the behest of their foreign sponsors.The key to peace and stability in both Pakistan and Afghanistan lies in Rawalpindi.However, only corrupt and boneheaded Karzai and his infamous cronies could be fool into thinking otherwise.

mohsin Sep 21, 2013 03:50pm

free all the accused from the jails who had done minor crimes

gangadin Sep 21, 2013 04:10pm

These people are being arrested because they don't like what the state is doing to them and they are retaliating? I see the demise of the state.

Khalid Sep 21, 2013 04:15pm

Why not. Release all people who have created havoc in the country and killed 1000s of citizens of Pakistan only to hope that they would come to the conference table to discuss modalities of a peace process with you. How very civilised.

Iqbal khan Sep 21, 2013 05:09pm

Shame on you Nawaz Sharif

Zehri Sep 21, 2013 05:09pm

talk to Taliban -- use Sami and Fazalur Rahman to point out who the actual Taliban are ---- one point in the talk that after signing peace agreement the Taliban will be responsible to face and fight the agencies using Taliban name for terrorist activities. PM to order all international agencies as to leave Pakistan next 48 hours --- these international agencies will never like that the peace process to be successful with Taliban ---we all know why

Azhar Hussain Sep 21, 2013 06:09pm

We release their criminals alive while they release photo's of our brothers who were chopped off. Have we lost the war against these criminals?

ali Sep 21, 2013 06:25pm

Baradari has been in jail for a couple of years only, if he was such an important player then why did the Afghan government initiate talks with him when he was out of orison.,

Farooq Mughal Sep 21, 2013 07:50pm

Yeah, they just killed a General and continue to murder innocent people. This is in addition to thousands of murders they committed in last few years. Lets "reward" them by freeing one of their top butcher. That will bring peace close to reality. When you negociate with murderers, criminals and kidnappers, its not negociation, its surrender. Army cannot fight alone when coward politicians are anxious to make friendship and practically ready to suurender to these barbaric butchers.