KABUL, Oct 8: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a senior US official denied reports on Wednesday that the United States had freed former Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil from custody in Afghanistan.

“This is not true, this is absolutely not true, he has not been released,” Karzai told reporters at his presidential palace in Kabul while standing alongside the US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.

“Is this true?” he asked Khalilzad, who replied: “No, we have not released him yet.”

Earlier, a senior foreign ministry official in southern Afghanistan said Muttawakil had been freed from the US military headquarters at Bagram after helping to arrange talks between US forces and the Taliban in the southern city of Kandahar.

A close friend of Muttawakil said he had been released four days ago. “Now he is living with his family in Kandahar,” he said. “I myself have spoken to him by telephone.”

American officials in Kabul earlier refused to confirm or deny the report of Muttawakil’s release. “It’s a sensitive issue,” said a US embassy spokesman, declining to comment.—Reuters

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

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